On January 17, 2010,
Michigan Students Killed In Plane Crash. At about 10 AM, 23 year old Hope
student David O. Otai and his passenger, 20 year old Emma E. Biagioni,
also a student departed Tulip City Airport Holland, Michigan in a Cessna
172. The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, tragically killing both
students when the aircraft impacted the snow covered terrain following a
loss of control while maneuvering near the airport. Otai was an FAA
licensed commercial instrument rated pilot.
At the time of the
accident instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) were present. The
flight was conducted under VFR and without a flight plan. The Cessna 172
N, with the tail number N8405E, was registered to and operated by Tulip
Air Service. According to the operator, the pilot was planning to give
rides to his friends. He canceled the first flight due to the inclement
weather. The second flight was the accident flight.
A lineman saw the
airplane take off and disappear into the overcast. Shortly thereafter,
he heard an airplane fly over the airport, but could not see it. He
heard an airplane make three additional passes and each time he could
not see the airplane.
On the fifth pass,
he saw the Cessna 172 flying east to west approximately 50 feet above
the ground and it "barely cleared the trees. "He said he then heard the
pilot call Muskegon approach control and tell the controller that he had
just taken off and had gotten "lost in the fog" and needed "an emergency
IFR back to Tulip City." When radio and radar communications were lost,
authorities were notified.
The wreckage was located in a soybean field approximately
11:30 AM. Emergency teams found the dreadfully damaged aircraft soon
after being dispatched to the area, it was reported that the visibility
was one eighth of a mile due to fog. At the wreckage site all major
airframe components were located and identified.
held a service prayer in which 1,100 people were in attendance at the
memorial service held at a memorial service in Dimnent Chapel on the
David O. Otai a sophomore and captain of an intramural
soccer team and volunteered for the menís varsity team came to the United States from
as an exchange student and was continuing his education at Hope College.
Otai wanted to become a missionary and eventually move back to his home
country to fly humanitarian aid.