FINDLAY – Almost two days after two people were killed in a plane crash, Hancock County officials have released no new information on what might have caused the small aircraft to come down in Cass Township.
Hancock County sheriff's officials on Sunday identified the pilot as Ralf Bronnenmeier. Officials have not identified the female passenger, although family members today identified her as Tieasha McQuin, 26, of Toledo.
“She was always smiling, always happy and in a good mood and she was very outgoing,” said Tomecia McQuin, 30, the victim's sister. Tiesha McQuin had a 3-year-old-daughter, Mahkayla Sims.
Ms. McQuin said her sister and Mr. Bronnenmeier were “good friends” and had flown together previously.
“She's very spontaneous and she loved to fly, so they were just enjoying themselves,” Ms. McQuin said. Ms. McQuin said the victim loved to spend time with her daughter and her best friend Jasmine Robinson.
The two were in Mr. Bronnenmeier's Lancair IV-P, a private plane, which traveled from the West Michigan Regional Airprot in Holland, Mich., to Bluffton. The plane crashed at about 1 a.m. in a ditch near Hancock County roads 18 and 216.
Ms. McQuin said police came to her mother's home Sunday morning after the crash and said Tiesha McQuin was a possible victim. Later they called and asked if Tiesha had a Winnie the Pooh tattoo on her stomach, which she did.
“It's been real rough,” Ms. McQuin said. The sentiment was echoed by the victim's aunt Lynn Phillips. “We're trying to figure out what happened. We don't know too much of what happened and what caused it to happen, but really we're waiting on the investigation to be over.”
Mr. Bronnenmeier, CEO of Grob Systems, an automotive company in Bluffton, received his pilot certificate in January, 2008, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Officials at Grob Systems did not return a message seeking comment.
Prior to Sunday's crash, Mr. Bronnenmeier had only one known problem when flying. On June 4, 2012, he was flying and heard a boom and lost cabin pressure. He looked back and found the left rear window was missing, according to message boards and FAA records.
“Popping ears that hurt, loud wind noise, and a girlfriend that seemed to squeeze my arm off,” Mr. Bronnenmeier wrote online. He noted that his flight bag and several sweaters must have flown out of the window.
Mr. Bronnenmeier landed in Bluffton without further incident.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.
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