Family of plane crash victim reach out - WNEM TV 5

Family of plane crash victim reach out

Posted: Updated:
SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Family and friends are remembering a Mid-Michigan man who died in a plane crash in Shiawassee County.

That crash claimed the life of 49-year-old Mark Kozan, and his friend Richard Hayward, 63.

Jason Kozan extends heart-felt thanks after his brother Mark died in the plane crash that happened over the weekend.

"Thanks to people who were at the scene," Jason Kozan said. "He was always willing to help others. He was just an all around great guy."

The Kozans said Mark Kozan will be cremated.

Funeral services for Richard Hayward are scheduled for Thursday, April 24 at Penzien Steele Funeral Home in Bay City. The visitation will last from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a prayer service immediately after.

The two men, identified as Richard Hayward, 63, of Vassar and Mark Kozan, 49, of Caro, were killed Saturday afternoon when a small plane crashed in a field in Shiawassee County's Venice Township.

Officials say the two men were the pilot and his passenger. Some residents witnessed the tragic crash.

"My first thoughts were to just get to the plane and see if someone's hurt, get them out and take care of them," said Lucas Lentner.

Francis Osika also witnessed the plane go down.

"I happened to look up and heard a plane coming across. I looked up and I see him spitting' and sputtering' a little bit and I said he ain't gonna make it," said Osika.

Emergency responders removed both bodies from the wreckage. The federal aviation administration is leading the investigation into what caused the plane to go down. 

The crash happened early Saturday afternoon on an open field at Cronk Road and Sheridan Avenue. Witnesses say the plan might have been traveling at about 50 miles per hour before its nose dive. 

"About a 45 degree angle right into the ground and he managed to flatten it out somehow before he hit. His landing gear was partially down," Lentner said.

After the hard landing, witnesses rushed in to help, but it was already too late.

"We noticed the first pilot was probably deceased and then we got to the other pilot," Osika said.

The good Samaritans have a message for the families.

"I send out my condolences. I did everything we could do," Osika said.

"I would hope that it was a couple of gentleman who went down doing something they love and I hope that their families would be able to grasp onto that. I know that's what my family has focused on when we've lost family members that way," Lentner said.

The Shiawassee County sheriff's office said the plane was an experimental aircraft. At this time the department has declined to say who owned the plane.

The federal aviation administration is investigating and the families of the two men have been notified.

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