Small Plane Crashes Minutes After Takeoff, 4 Illinois Fraternity Brothers Dead at Scene

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
June 3, 2020US News
Small Plane Crashes Minutes After Takeoff, 4 Illinois Fraternity Brothers Dead at Scene
An ambulance in a file photo. (Steve Marcus/File Photo via Reuters)

A small plane carrying four former fraternity brothers crashed near a farmhouse in a southern Illinois field on Sunday, authorities said.

The plane crashed just minutes after takeoff, about 45 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri, Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl said.

The four frats were later identified as Daniel Shedd, 37, Joshua Sweers, 35, Daniel Schlosser, 39, and John Camilleri, 39, local news agency KSDK reported.

The plane was reportedly a single-engine Piper PA28 and crashed Sunday around 3:45 p.m. “under unknown circumstances,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement.

Sweers piloted the plane, the New York Post reported. The frats took a selfie together shortly before the plane crashed, which was reported to be about 25 minutes after liftoff.

Sheriff Kahl told news outlets nobody on the ground near the farmhouse was hurt following the impact of the airplane. All four friends were pronounced dead at the scene.

All victims attended the same university in Michigan and have been close friends since then. The four men were all former members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, KSDK reported.

NTD Photo
One of the four fraternity brothers, Joshua Sweers (C) in a file photo. (Clint Fix via Facebook)

“This was his [Daniel Shedd’s] first time flying with them and I’m not sure if he had ever been in a small plane before,” Shedd’s father told the outlet. “He was looking forward to the trip.”

No details surrounding the departure of the plane were released by the FAA.

Officials said National Transportation Safety Board investigators along with FAA officials are conducting an investigation into the crash.

‘4 Amazing Men’

Clint Fix said he knew the four men and paid tribute on Facebook to their friends after “receiving the type of call that no one wants to receive.”

Fix said he didn’t know what to think or feel after learning about the tragic news on his former fraternity brothers. He said that day, “I went from feeling excited about the day to feeling numb.”

Fix was particularly close to Sweers, who piloted the plane. He said, “Sweers was one of those guys that loved everyone and was loved by everyone.”

“Our adventures took us to Amsterdam, Puerto Rico, numerous shenanigans in Buffalo, and countless small, but equally exciting adventures right in Flint. He [Sweers] was always up for an adventure. I was always quick to join him,” Fix recalled. “My life would be significantly different had you not been a part of it.”

Fix said the “world lost four amazing men.” He said he had never laughed as much as when being around John Camilleri, who was “a man that cared deeply about his friends,” Fix said.

“John, I’m thankful that the many adventures I went on with Sweers also included you,” Fix wrote in the tribute. “John and Sweers, though the years and distance separated us a bit, I feel like it was just yesterday we were having the time of our life together. … I miss you both deeply.”

Fix said he regrets not having gotten to know Schlosser and Shedd better, but recalled them as good men that deeply cared for others, lived life, and made the world a better place.

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