Father of student: fatal flight was to see sights

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm •  Published: August 26, 2014
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CLEVELAND (AP) — A small rented airplane crashed and burned shortly after takeoff Monday, killing four college students who were taking a sightseeing flight around Cleveland after their first day of classes.

The four men were students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Three were members of the varsity wrestling team.

The wrestlers were identified as 20-year-old Lucas Marcelli of Massillon, Ohio; 18-year-old Abraham Pishevar of Rockville, Maryland; and 18-year-old John Hill of St. Simons, Georgia. The fourth student was the pilot, 20-year-old William Felten of Saginaw, Michigan.

Marcelli and Felten were sophomores and Pishevar and Hill were freshman.

The plane appeared to be trying to return to the airport when it crashed, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. He said investigators expect to file a preliminary report next week, but the full investigation could take a year to complete.

Bryan Marcelli of Massillon in northeastern Ohio said his son Lucas and the three other students planned to go up, take a look around and come right back to the same airport. He said Lucas was a hard-working student but not a risk taker.

"If he wasn't my son, I'd want my son to be around him, because he was such a positive influence," Marcelli said. "I don't know anybody that doesn't like him."

Lucas Marcelli graduated from Jackson High School in Massillon and twice qualified for Ohio's state wrestling tournament.

Abraham "Abe" Pishevar recently graduated from Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, Maryland. High school classmate Cam Giarraputo said Pishevar never boasted about his wrestling accomplishments.

"He was always modest, never a show-off," Giarraputo said.

Case Western Reserve is one of the world's top research universities. The campus sprawls across a large portion of Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood in a mix of stately stone and brick buildings and distinctive modern structures. Students on campus gathered Tuesday afternoon in Veale Center, one of the school's athletic facilities, to talk and to console each other.

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