Plane Crash Victims Expected to Recover

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CHERRY TOWNSHIP -- On Monday, investigators from the FAA were at the site where a small plane crashed in Sullivan County.

According to hospital officials, the pilot of the plane is listed in serious condition and his passenger is in stable condition.

First responders said the two were able to pull themselves from the plane after the crash Sunday morning near Dushore.

Surrounded by trees and off a rural road, the tail of a Stinson Voyager airplane sat up in the air, its nose down in the dirt.

"It kind of tumbled as it hit the first trees. It spun and tumbled," said Dushore Fire Company Chief Scott Hope.

Hope was there to help after the pilot and passenger climbed out of the plane and called 911.

"We found the aircraft in the woods in the trees then. They were on out in the clearing," Hope said. "The motor cut out and the one gentleman, the pilot, told us he thought it was a fuel issue."

According to state police, the pilot, Richard Rexer, and his passenger, John Smithkors, both from Dushore, took off in the plane at a private airport close to the crash site.

"They were going to Towanda to a fly-in breakfast," said Hope. "They were talking and in pretty decent shape."

We did get in touch with some of Rexer's family when we stopped by his business near Dushore. His family members said he is doing okay and that both men are expected to recover.

"He was an experienced operator. I know that so I don't know what happened," said Ray McDonald of Cherry Township.

McDonald lives near where the crash happened and knows the pilot.

"We seen the fire trucks and the ambulances all going in and then we went up later and see what happened," McDonald said. "I'm glad they weren't hurt. We heard they didn't get hurt so I'm glad for that."

The FAA said because the aircraft is too heavily damaged, they had to hand the investigation over to the National Transportation Safety Board.

But again, despite all the damage to the plane, both the pilot and passenger are expected to be okay.

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