The family of a man killed when his single-engine plane crashed into a house in North Logan on Saturday has identified him as Don Gerszewski.
The Gerszewski family shared the following statement, written Sunday, through Cache County Victim Services:
“With profound sadness, we say farewell to our husband, father and grandfather in this mortal life. He was our rock. A kind, loving friend and steady example to all who knew him.
“As a second-generation pilot with nearly five decades of aviation experience, Don was responsible for safely flying hundreds of thousands of people to their destinations around the world throughout his career. He was competent, cautious, and thorough with everything he pursued in life.
“We recognize that unforeseen conditions and a divine influence that we do not fully comprehend resulted in a tragic accident yesterday. We are comforted by our faith in God and His eternal plan, knowing there is a purpose that transcends time and our limited understanding.
“We also take solace in knowing that he left us doing what he loved, and that he knew how much he is loved by everyone around him. Blue skies and bright horizons until we meet again.”
Gerszewski’s aircraft, a SeaRey LSX kit plane, crashed into a roof near 2300 Meadowlark Lane at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday. According to police and firefighters, no one was in the home at the time, but Gerszewski was dead when first responders arrived.
According to witness reports, Gerszewski’s son, a pilot himself, witnessed the accident and was among the first to climb onto the rooftop.
An online profile for Gerszewski states that he was a pilot for Delta Air Lines for more than 30 years, and a pilot and program manager for Beechcraft for 7 years before that. He graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s in aviation.
First responders, including North Logan Fire Department’s technical rescue team, worked for six hours at the site securing the plane, documenting the crash before federal investigators could arrive, and extricating Gerszewski, according to NLFD Assistant Chief Craig Humphreys.
“A construction crane was called in to help stabilize the plane while we were able to extricate the victim,” Humphreys said.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration examined the site on Sunday, after which the aircraft was released to be recovered to a secure site, according to NTSB Air Investigator Fabian Salazar. Data collection is ongoing in the investigation, Salazar said, adding that at this point any information on possible causes would be speculation.
Typically, the NTSB will release a preliminary report on incidents like this in about two weeks. Final reports, including probable cause information, may not come out for a year or more, Salazar said.
On Monday evening, the city of North Logan advised people to stay out of the crash site.
“Out of respect for the deceased and their family, please avoid the site of the recent plane crash,” and email from the city to residents states. “The site is a safety hazard and trespassers may be prosecuted.”
Investigators are still collecting statements from witnesses, either through local law enforcement, Salazar said, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.