TOLEDO, Ore. – Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a plane to crash into a parking lot at a paper mill in Toledo this weekend, killing a man and his 4-year-old granddaughter.
Toledo Police say 51-year-old Douglas Nebert of Newport was flying his stepdaughter and her daughter to Seattle Saturday afternoon, when the plane lost altitude, banked a turn, and nose-dived into an empty parking lot at the Georgia-Pacific Paper Mill.
“When the officers and the fire department first got there, the mother of the child was doing CPR on the child,” said Toledo Police Chief David Enyeart.
Enyeart says both Nebert and his granddaughter, Zoey Wahl, died at the scene. Relatives say Zoey’s mother, 34-year-old April Gleason of Seattle, is in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“The EMTs came in and tried to resuscitate her (Wahl), but she was pronounced dead at the scene, and so was the pilot,” Enyeart said.
Investigators are still trying to reconstruct the crash, and on Monday afternoon will start removing the plane from the parking lot.
Toledo residents KEZI 9 News spoke with on Monday say though they did not know the victims, the Newport-Toledo community is small, and their hearts go out to the family.
“It’s just tragic,” said resident Tera Reid. “Horrible. It affects everybody. It’s a small community. Everybody works with everybody and it affects everybody.”
“It does affect everybody,” said Janice Miner, who lives in Newport but works in Toledo. “It touches home. We wish the mother good luck and hopefully they are able to heal.”
Valerie Carkhuff owns the Smoke N Shop across the street from the mill. Though she says she was not at the store at the time of the crash, she also says it hits close to home.
“It’s devastating,” she said. “It’s devastating for it to happen in such a small town. And I’m devastated for the loss of her (Gleason’s) daughter.”
Nebert owned the Tyee Lodge Bed and Breakfast in Newport with his wife Dee – an area she says he loved. She also says he loved to fly, and had built the plane the family was flying in on Saturday.
“It was his passion to fly,” she said. “Despite the tragedy, I’m certain he did everything he could in that situation. He knew that plane very well. He loved to fly.”
Family members of Nebert and Wahl say they are coping the best they can: remembering Doug, who they say was extremely kind and generous, and Zoey, who could light up a room with her energy and her determination.
Relatives say if anyone would like to make a contribution, they would rather have donations sent to two different charities in their honor.
Memorial dates have yet to be determined.