VIRGINIA

4 Bodies Found in Wreckage of Plane

Search and rescue teams removed four bodies yesterday from the wreckage of a single-engine airplane that crashed in the mountains near Shenandoah National Park.

The Civil Air Patrol said the rented Cessna 172 took off from Newport News on Wednesday morning for a trip to Shenandoah Valley and was reported missing at 5 p.m. when it did not return as scheduled. Virginia State Police said the bodies of two adults and two children were recovered at the crash site, just east of Flat Top Mountain. Formal identification of the dead was pending.

Linda Utting, a spokeswoman for the Civil Air Patrol, said authorities believe the plane was piloted by Robert Spencer, of Gloucester County, a novice aviator who had logged fewer than 100 flight hours and had received his license just weeks ago.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the incident

New Bridge at Winchester Historic Site

A new 100-foot pedestrian bridge in Winchester will allow visitors to walk what had been an inaccessible section of the Opequon battlefield, also known as the Third Winchester battlefield, according to a spokesman for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Commission.

Howard J. Kittell said the wooden bridge was a $14,000 joint project with the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, which owns the battlefield. Before the bridge was built over Redbud Run, a large section of the battlefield could not be toured, he said.

On Sept. 19, 1864, Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan charged the Confederate troops under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early, eventually overwhelming the southerners. Sheridan lost about 5,000 men and Early had about 3,500 casualties in this key battle of the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

MARYLAND

Felled Poles Cut Power in Bethesda

Three utility poles in downtown Bethesda either fell or were pulled down yesterday by a passing truck that may have snared wires attached to them, officials said. Power was cut to 535 homes and businesses in the popular restaurant and entertainment district.

It happened in the 4900 block of Cordell Avenue near Norfolk Avenue about 3 p.m., according to Potomac Electric Power Co. spokeswoman Makini Street. Electricity was restored to 510 customers in an hour and a half, but 25 businesses probably will be without power until 6 this morning, she said.

The cause of the incident was under investigation, said Montgomery fire Capt. Dan Gilman. He said a few witnesses said a U-Haul truck felled the poles by pulling down wires as it crossed the intersection and continued on. Others said the poles had been leaning and fell down on their own, Gilman said.

Street said Pepco doesn't think the poles came down by themselves. Information on whether customers had filed complaints about the poles was unavailable last night, she said, but "Pepco is confident that our poles are structurally safe."

Jay Francis, manager of Tragara Ristorante at 4935 Cordell Ave., said his establishment lost about $15,000 in business--including a planned party for 60 people--last night because of the power outage.

Francis said that the pole in front of his restaurant had leaned toward the street for several months and that he believed the incident "could have been prevented."

Salisbury State Names Interim President

Salisbury State University has found a short-term president to oversee the school while officials search for a permanent one.

Joel M. Jones, 62, who recently retired as president of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., was named interim president of the school. He will arrive in September and is expected to remain for a year.

He succeeds William Merwin, who left Salisbury State last month to become president at Florida Gulf Coast University.

THE REGION

Landmark Property Owners Sought

The National Park Service is trying to reach the thousands of private landowners nationwide whose property lies within the 587 National Natural Landmarks, according to regional program coordinator Ann S. Brazinski.

Sept. 9 is the deadline for owners who want to withdraw their property from the landmark designation to notify the Park Service.

The designation is special recognition for property with the best remaining examples of biological communities and geological resources in the nation, Brazinski said. It does not alter property ownership, subject land to federal regulations or require public access to the property, she said.

The landmarks include Belt Woods in Prince George's County, Sugar Loaf Mountain in Frederick County and Long Green Creek and Sweathouse Branch in Baltimore County. In Virginia, Luray Caverns in Page County, Rich Hole in Rockbridge County and Montpelier Forest in Orange County are included.

THE DISTRICT

Police Looking for Family of Slain

Man D.C. police are seeking the public's assistance in locating the family of a 31-year-old man who was found shot to death on Aug. 13. Sgt. Joseph Gentile, a police spokesman, identified the man as Alejandre-Armenta Caterino of the 400 block of R Street NW. Caterino's relatives are believed to live in Mexico, Gentile said.

No on has been arrested in Caterino's slaying, police said.

Caterino was found lying on the ground at a rear doorway in the block where he lived. An autopsy determined that he died of a gunshot wound to the neck with an injury to his cervical cord.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The public is expecting more and more and more, and the park operators are giving them more and more and more. That's okay to do that. But when you reach the point that personal safety relies on participation from the rider, then you've probably gone too far. We may have reached that point."

William Avery, a safety manager who runs a consulting firm, on roller coaster and other amusement park thrill rides.

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