Funeral Services Set For Manhattan Plane Crash Victim

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Manhattan man who lost his life in an Oklahoma plane crash while traveling with a family friend will be laid to rest on Friday.

Chris Gruber, 40, and Dr. Ron Marshall, 71, died Sunday, April 7, 2013 when Marshall's plane went down on their way back to Manhattan.

Chris Gruber, a father of three, was the Director of Development for K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine and was an employee of the KSU Foundation who played an integral part in fundraising for research, projects, scholarships, equipment, etc.

A funeral service for Gruber will be held at 10:30 AM on Friday, April 19, 2013 at University Christian Church - Family Life Center at 2800 Claflin Rd. in Manhattan. A graveside service will follow at 3:30 PM at St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery in Hope, Kansas- Gruber's hometown. Memorial contributions may be made to Kai Gruber (his wife) for the Gruber Family Benefit Fund set up at Sunflower Bank. Contributions may also be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502.

Dr. Ronald Marshall was a well known retired physician who specialized in obstetrics & gynecology for more than 30 years in the Manhattan area. A memorial service for Marshall was held on Friday, April 12th at University Christian Church in Manhattan. Memorials can be sent to Irvin-Parkview Funeral Home & Cremation to go to a charity the family will decide at a later date.

According to the FAA, the single-engine aircraft, a Mooney M20J, departed Tulsa International Airport around 5:50 Sunday night en route to Manhattan Regional Airport, where it was scheduled to land just after 7 PM. The plane went down inside the city limits of Collinsville, a suburb about 30 minutes northeast of Tulsa. It dropped off of FAA radar at 5:52 p.m.

The plane crashed into a house neighbors say was vacant and caused a small fire. No one on the ground was injured. The FAA is investigating the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB posted preliminary information in their investigation on their website, stating that several witnesses reported seeing the airplane before it descended into a small lot behind a vacant house.

The report goes on to state that the airplane’s impact left a crater approximately 10 feet in diameter and about 4 feet deep. The engine and part of a propeller blade were visible in the crater. Other pieces of the airplane were scattered around the area. A post-crash fire consumed part of the fuselage and rear stabilizer, according to the report.

Investigators indicated that they reviewed air traffic control and radar data and that communications with Marshall's plane were normal. Marshall's last acknowledgment was that the airplane was cleared to 6,000 feet. He did not make any emergency or distress calls. Radar had the airplane tracking northward, in a shallow climb. It reached 4,100 feet before a descending, right turn on the radar was observed. During the turn, the airplane disappeared from the radar, the preliminary report stated.

Officials say it could take months to determine the cause of the crash.