ST. LOUIS — A married Metro East couple died Saturday when the small airplane they were flying crashed in North Carolina.
Family and friends said Joseph and Patti Kreher, of Freeburg, were on their way to visit family on the East Coast for the Thanksgiving holiday when their plane went down in Winston-Salem. They said Joseph had been a pilot for many years.
The airplane, a Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, crashed shortly after 11 a.m., according to the Winston-Salem Journal. A federal investigator told reporters at a briefing on the incident that the pilot had alerted the control tower at Smith Reynolds Airport he was having engine trouble. The plane crashed while circling for a second attempt at landing.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported that the plane initially took off from St. Louis Downtown Airport at 6:27 a.m. Saturday and landed in London, Kentucky, an hour and 45 minutes later after making a loop around the airport.
Later, in North Carolina, the plane crashed near a residential area of Winston-Salem. Police there declined to comment about the incident Sunday evening, saying the investigation was being handled by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The Krehers, married 43 years, owned General Machine, a metal fabrication shop south of Belleville.