Plane That Crashed Was Returning From NCAA Final

7 are dead in Illinois, including 2 athletic staffers from Illinois State University
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 7, 2015 6:52 PM CDT
Plane That Crashed Was Returning From NCAA Final
In this 2013 file photo, Illinois State associate head basketball coach Torrey Ward, right, is seen with head coach Dan Muller.   (AP Photo/Matt Marton, File)

Seven men who scored seats to last night's NCAA championship game have been identified as the victims of a small-plane crash near Bloomington, Ill. The plane was returning from the game in Indianapolis when it flew into heavy fog about midnight and went down, reports the Chicago Tribune. There were no survivors. Among the victims were Torrey Ward, 36, an assistant men's basketball coach at Illinois State, and Aaron Leetch, 37, one of the university's deputy athletic directors.

They "went to the NCAA game last night, and they were flying back, and I guess the weather was bad in central Illinois. It was foggy," says the father-in-law of Scott Bittner, another of the victims. The 42-year-old Bittner owned the twin-engine Cessna 414 that crashed short of the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington. The airport's tower had been closed, but its runway lights were still on. The plane had been in communication with the tower in Peoria, which handles traffic from the Central Illinois airport when it closes for the night, notes AP. (More plane crash stories.)

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