Officials recover bodies of two killed in Lake Texoma plane crash

Thursday, February 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PLATTER, Okla. (AP) -- A plane carrying a flight instructor and a student from Southeastern Oklahoma State University collided with another plane over Lake Texoma, killing both men.

The other plane landed safely at a North Texas airport.

Lynn C. Mathew, 19, of Mesquite, Texas, and John Jacob Marcum, 20, of Baker City, Ore., were killed when the two-seat Cessna 152 they were on went down near the southeastern Oklahoma lake, university spokeswoman Pam Mauldin said.

Their bodies were recovered early Wednesday morning, officials said. It was not immediately clear who was piloting the plane.

Marcum was a certified aviation instructor for the school, which runs the largest aerospace program in Oklahoma. The two were on a training flight when their plane collided with a Cessna 172.

The second plane landed safely in Sherman, Texas, after the collision. The aircraft was based out of Dallas' Addison Airport.

The occupants of that plane, Jeoffrey Reese and Nicholas Woodyard, were not injured. Reese reported a large gash in his fuselage, said John Clabes, a spokesman for the FAA in Oklahoma City.

Reese said he felt something strike his plane in the air.

"It was just a little before 6 p.m. and we were about to head back to Addison when we felt it," Reese said.

After sending out a mayday call, Reese learned that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol had spotted a downed plane in the water near the Platter Flats area of the lake.

"We never did see what we hit," Reese said.

Clabes said the time of the crash is believed to have been about 5:50 p.m., around sunset.

"We have a lot of shadows and visibility is poor at that time," he said.

Terry Stephens, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol diver who helped recover the bodies, said the plane went into the water at a pretty steep angle.

"With the configuration of the plane and the damage done to the plane upon impact, we had to get a barge with a crane over there in order to lift up the plane," Stephens said. "At that point, we were able to extract the bodies from the wreckage. It's just a long process out there in the middle of a lake."

At the Southeastern Oklahoma campus, students wore blue and gold ribbons and made makeshift memorials.

Southeastern President Glen Johnson said this was the first crash in the 34-year history of the university's aerospace department.

"Obviously, we're shocked and very sad at losing two members of our university student body," Johnson said. "They were both great students ... who were a credit to themselves and a credit to the university."

Mathew was active with the Baptist Student Union. Marcum was a member of Southeastern's "Flying Savages" flight team and served as campus president of Alpha Eta Rho, an international aviation fraternity.

Southeastern's aviation department has 230 students and operates at Eaker Field, eight miles south of the main campus. The department owns 15 aircraft and operates its own hangar.

The university is planning a memorial service in the victims'

honor. A time and place has not been set.

A scholarship program in memory of the students also has been established, Johnson said.

"It'll be something that will be here even when most of us aren't," he said.