RIVERSIDE, W.Va. — Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board released the names Saturday of the two victims killed in a plane crash Friday evening in eastern Kanawha County.

The NTSB said Lazarus Sommers, 50, and his wife, Maryann Sommers, 56, of Millersburg, Ohio, died at the scene of hillside crash about a mile from U.S. Route 60, less than 30 miles from Charleston, in the Riverside area of Kanawha County. There was no one else on the plane.

The Sommers left Akron, Ohio Friday afternoon en route to Spartanburg, S.C. when the Piper PA-32 plane veered off course and crashed.

The crash site is right across the Kanawha River from the town of Pratt and some residents there first saw the wreckage and helped guide emergency crews to the scene Friday evening. There were also several eyewitnesses in the Kelley’s Creek area near Cedar Grove.

Investigators from the FAA and NTSB were on the scene Saturday. The NTSB will continue the investigation.



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  • TJP

    Laz was a very experienced pilot and very well respected man in the world of ATV racing. RIP Laz and Mary Ann

  • Tom

    Ban planes.

  • DWL

    That mountain just jumped right up in front of the plane. That's why you check the weather and set your altimeter. I wonder if he was IFR rated?

    • tom


    • Remember

      Did you read the story on this yesterday? Witnesses said that they heard the engines sputter and the plane was going up and down as smoke came from engines. Instrument raitings will not help mechanical failure. Prayers for the families of this accident.

      • HVQ

        Witnesses frequently describe engine issues that don't exist.

        • HVQ

          Just to be clear..
          My intent is not to assign cause, just to counter common assumptions.

    • HVQ

      Is this really the proper venue for this comment? Are you Instrument rated? Controlled Flight Into Terrain accidents have claimed some experienced pilots. It's a shame. Out of respect for Mr. Sommers, pilots should be ever vigilant concerning situational awareness.

    • wvu999

      Hows that amateur comedy career working out for you?