Plane that crashed into Lake Michigan lacked speed to take off - Quad-Cities Online: Illinois

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Plane that crashed into Lake Michigan lacked speed to take off

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Posted: Monday, August 3, 1998 1:00 am

CHICAGO (AP) -- Federal investigators were trying to determine why a small airplane was unable to build up enough speed to get off the ground and plunged into Lake Michigan, killing a passenger.

Survivors told investigators that during the take-off attempt at Meigs Field Saturday, the twin-engine Cessna seemed to decelerate momentarily before accelerating again, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Pam Sullivan said.

``Something occurred. We don't know what,'' she said.

Debra Zukof, 41, of Prospect, Ky., was unable to get out of the plane and drowned, authorities said. Three others suffered minor injuries -- Barry Willett, Zukof's husband; and Ken Asher and his wife Barbara, also from Kentucky.

The four had flown in from Kentucky for dinner and were attempting to return when the plane went into the lake around 10 p.m.

Ken Asher, the pilot, passed a blood-alcohol test, Sullivan said.

The lakefront airfield was closed until the plane was retrieved from 20 to 30 feet of water about 200 feet off shore Sunday evening, Meigs spokesman Dennis Culloton said.

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