Suicide investigated as possible reason for Spotsylvania County plane crash

July 23, 2013

Suicide is being investigated as a possible reason for a plane crash that killed a 22-year-old Fredericksburg man Monday night, authorities said on Tuesday.

Virginia State Police identified Edwin G. Hassel as the pilot of the small airplane that crashed near a runway at Spotsylvania County’s Shannon Airport.

Police said the plane, a single-engine Cessna 172M, was in the air briefly before plummeting to the ground near a runway and catching fire around 6:30 p.m.

Hassel, the only person in the plane, was killed in the crash. No one on the ground was injured, police said. The airport is located outside Fredericksburg, about 60 miles south of Washington, and is used by private pilots flying small planes.

Few details are available about what led to the crash, but state police officials said in a news release on Tuesday that suicide was being investigated as a reason.

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reported that the Spotsylvania County sheriff’s office had received a call about someone threatening suicide prior to the plane crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified, and the incident remains under investigation, state police said.

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