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Published: Friday, 12/5/2008

CEO of Ohio health insurer dies in plane crash


CLEVELAND The chief executive of the Medical Mutual of Ohio health insurance company has died in a small plane crash in Puerto Rico, a company spokesman said.

Kent W. Clapp was 62. Also killed in Wednesday s crash was his fiancee, Tracy Turner, and the pilot of the plane they chartered. The twin-engine plane crashed in dense fog into a mountain in the El Yunque rainforest about 13 miles east of San Juan.

Medical Mutual learned of the deaths late Thursday, company spokesman Ed Byers said on Friday.

Clapp and Turner were vacationing and had missed a Continental Airlines flight from the British Virgin Islands to San Juan, Medical Mutual said. The couple from Avon Lake in suburban Cleveland chartered the small plane in an effort to make a connecting flight from San Juan to Newark, N.J., and from there they were to fly back to Cleveland.

Puerto Rican officials identified the pilot as Ken Webster, owner of Websta s Aviation Services Inc. in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The passengers were identified as Clapp and Turner, said Jose Daniel Echevarria, a spokesman for Puerto Rico s Department of Emergency Management.

Karilyn Bonilla, director of the emergency management office, said the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Cleveland-based Medical Mutual is formerly part of the Blue Cross system and has about 2,800 employees. Clapp, a Vietnam veteran, had been with the company since 1976 and was named president in 1992 and chairman and chief executive officer in 1997.

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