AKRON, Ohio (WKBN) – Family members of the victims of an Akron plane crash started arriving at the scene late Tuesday night into Wednesday, including one woman who drove all the way from Indianapolis.
Wednesday morning in Akron, there were dozens of people who were looking for answers. Not just the reporters from media from around the country, but also other people who had driven from hours away because they believed they had family members on board that plane.
“It’s panic. It’s absolute sheer panic, because we don’t know what to tell the kids,” said Jeannie Ferrara, whose sister, Diane Smoot, was on the plane. “And of course, we’ve got extended family. We don’t know what to do.”
Beth Blakeslee, also Smoot’s sister, said that Smoot did not want to go on the plane.
“It’s just not her thing. She’d rather just be in the office,” Blakeslee said. “But they wanted to get her more exposure and things like that and have her be part of the team, part of the executive team, so they encouraged her to go on this trip.”
Jeannie and Beth texted their sister, 50-year-old Diane Smoot. But they never heard back. They had their worst fears confirmed later in the morning. Ohio State Highway Patrol let them know their sister Diane was one of the people killed in the crash.
“Just tears. We’re going to miss her,” Blakeslee said of her reaction to the news.
“The peacemaker in the family. The best one of all of us,” Ferrara said of her sister.
Diane leaves behind two sons, age 21. Police confirmed Wednesday that the nine people on board the plane died in the crash.