Pilot released from hospital; investigation stalled by shutdown
SELINSGROVE - The pilot of a single-engine airplane that crashed Friday at Penn Valley Airport was released from Geisinger Medical Center Wednesday, while the passenger remained in the Danville hospital in fair condition Thursday, according to a nursing supervisor.
The investigation into the accident involving Doug Cromley and his passenger, Todd Cromley, is ongoing, but the federal shutdown has slowed it, said Dave Hall, airport director of operations at Penn Valley, Thursday.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which would be the usual investigating entity, has not been involved because of the shutdown, but Hall said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been notified and provided with witness testimony and photographs.
"Even if the government opened tomorrow, they (FAA officials) said they wouldn't be here for three weeks," Hall added.
Most aircraft accident reports take two to three months before any public conclusions, Hall said.
The two-passenger 1953 Piper PA-22-135 Pacer that crashed near the end of the runway is registered to Doug Cromley's father, Orvis H. Cromley, of Lewisburg, according to online sources.
When the registration information was obtained Friday, but the names of those on board had not yet been confirmed, The News-Item sought the condition of Orvis Cromley at Geisinger, believing he may have been on board. The hospital reported Orvis Cromley in serious condition. The News-Item has since learned Orvis was not on board.
Todd Cromely and Orvis Cromley are also related, though Hall isn't sure exactly how.
The aircraft did not catch fire but did leak fuel. Its nose was crushed against the asphalt runway, the wheels bent outward on either side. Both front doors were damaged but a rear pilot-side door was open, indicating where the pilot and passenger exited. The right wing was partially snapped and the propeller and windshield were off the aircraft.