Feds Say Elderly Pilot In Deadly Crash Had Been Warned By Eye Doctor

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Federal investigators say an 86-year-old Ohio man at the controls of a plane that crashed last year, killing him and five passengers, had been warned not to drive by his eye doctor.

A report issued this week by the National Transportation Safety Board says Gene Damschroder Sr. had been in treatment for macular degeneration for two years. But on the last airman medical certificate he filed, in 2007, he denied having any eye conditions.

Damschroder, a former state representative, was giving airplane rides in June 2008 at Fremont Airport in northwest Ohio.

Damschroder's son, Rex Damschroder, says he thinks his aging father's slower reflexes may have been a key reason for the crash.

The NTSB expects to release a probable cause statement on the crash on Dec. 3.


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  • by Ron Location: Merritt, NC on Oct 24, 2009 at 07:04 AM
    Good eyesight is more critical in piloting an aircraft than it is in driving a car. This pilot should have known that if he was advised not to drive by his eye doctor that he should not have piloted an aircraft, either. Had the eye doctor KNOWN that the man was also a pilot, he would have been very emphatic about not flying, too. If anybody should be sued, it should be the 86 year old pilot for killing his passengers.
  • by GUMBY on Oct 23, 2009 at 07:39 PM
    oh no Some people just don't know when to quit, for their own good. Ego trip. Very sad.
  • by Ted Location: Grimesland on Oct 23, 2009 at 05:50 PM
    The family should sue the doc for not warning him not to fly also! Then the families of the other two should sue the psychiatrist they must have been seeing to get into an airplane with an 86 year old pilot anyway!
  • by you mean on Oct 23, 2009 at 02:28 PM
    hey wanda, he could not foresee HIS fate..and five other peoples fate.
  • by Raymond Location: Roanoke Rapids on Oct 23, 2009 at 10:53 AM
    He wasn't driving, he was flying.
  • by Wanda Location: Kenansville on Oct 23, 2009 at 10:37 AM
    Well, that what he get. He could not foresee his fate.
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