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ADRIAN - A Colorado couple who were killed when their single-engine airplane crashed in a field north of Adrian Friday afternoon were returning from a week's vacation on the East Coast and were landing to visit family when their plane went down, friends of the victims said Saturday.
Eric Beaudry and his wife, Deb Rogers-Beaudry, 51, of Pueblo were flying from Scranton, Pa., to the Lenawee County Airport when their plane crashed about 4:30 p.m. in a field north of Heritage Park in Lenawee County's Raisin Township.
Mrs. Beaudry grew up in nearby Tecumseh, where her mother lives, said Julie Hinckley of Tecumseh, whose sister has been a friend of Mrs. Beaudry since grade school.
Mrs. Hinckley and her husband, Kevin, were solemn as they visited the remote crash site yesterday morning.
"I wanted to see visually what had happened," Mrs. Hinckley said as she stared across nearly a quarter mile of weeds and brush to the shattered white wreckage sticking up near a small waterway in the field.
"I had heard about the plane crash on the radio, but I hadn't put it together that it might be [Mr. and Mrs. Beaudry] until my sister called," she said.
Mrs. Hinckley said the Beaudrys met at Michigan State University while they were students.
Mrs. Beaudry, then Deb Rogers, was a cheerleader and Mr. Beaudry was a member of the Spartans' wrestling team. The couple's youngest son, Mark, is a student at the University of Michigan, where, like his late father, he wrestles.
In Pueblo, Mr. and Mrs.
Beaudry owned the Pueblo Athletic Club, a 40,000-square-foot facility with indoor and outdoor saltwater pools, weight rooms, and basketball and racquetball courts.
A photo on the front page of the athletic club's Web site yesterday featured a picture of the smiling couple, under the phrase "In loving memory of Deb & Eric."
At the crash site, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board studied the wreckage and worked from two tents erected a few hundred feet away.
A spokesman for the NTSB said the agency would not release a cause for the crash until its investigation is concluded, which can take months.
The National Weather Service reported rainy conditions in the area at the time of the crash, with visibility down to six miles and winds out of the south at 18 mph, gusting to 25 mph.
Witnesses had reported to the Lenawee County sheriff that a portion of the plane's wing appeared to be "dangling" from its fuselage before the crash, as if it may have struck an obstacle.
A 285-foot-tall cellular-telephone antenna owned by Trinity Wireless Towers is about 1,500 feet to the northwest of the aircraft's wreckage, but investigators did not say whether the plane struck the tower.
The crash site is more than six miles northeast of the Lenawee County Airport's single runway but is along the flight path pilots use if they approach from that direction.
A professional pilot who regularly lands at the Lenawee County Airport said aircraft approaching from that direction - which would overfly downtown Adrian - would normally be much higher than the top of the tower at that distance from the runway.
The couple's 15-year-old aircraft, a four-seat Commander 114-B, was registered to Dem Enterprises LLC, and listed the same address as the athletic club in Pueblo.
Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: