Airshow pilot, airport manager die in Atchison County plane crash

Vlado Lenoch

Vlado Lenoch

Vlado Lenoch and Bethany Root were killed in a plane crash Sunday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the crash at 10:18 a.m. Sunday, according to a release from the Atchison County Sheriff's Office.

The cause of Sunday's crash, near Cummings, Kansas, is now unknown.

The pilot, 64-year-old Vlado Lenoch, was advertised as one of the highlights of this weekend's Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison. Lenoch and Root left the Amelia Earhart Airport in Atchison in a World War II-era plane at around 10 a.m. Sunday.

The annual festival, held in Atchison, celebrates the famed pilot Earhart, who was born in Atchison, and is the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

An Atchison County Sheriff's Department official said it appears the crash happened at a high rate of speed.

The plane wa a P-51 Mustang named "Baby-Duck" that flew along the Missouri River in the air show at the Amelia Earhart Festival on Saturday.

The Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation listed Lenoch as a seasoned pilot who learned to fly at the age of 17.

Festival coordinator Jacque Pregont described the deaths as "a frightful, terrible loss".

Root was a former special education teacher from Indianapolis, Indiana who caught a love of flying in her 30s. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to arrive on the scene this morning. She moved to the area and did work crop dusting for area farmers. She worked for the airport's management company, McElwain Sprayers of Wathena, Kan. No residents were injured.

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