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4 killed in Illinois plane crash

November 30, 2011, 01:48 pm

A small plane recently crashed near Crystal Lake, Illinois, killing four passengers. On board the plane was Ray Harris, his daughters Ramie and Shey, and one of their friends, Chris Backus. The Harris family members were from Marion, Indiana, and Backus lived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Ramie was a 21-year-old student at Wheaton College, and Backus was a senior at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion.

Ron Vermillion, a friend of the Harris family, told the Chicago Tribune that Ray was flying with his daughters and friend back to Wheaton College after celebrating Thanksgiving in Indiana. Vermillion considered Ray a veteran pilot.

"For Ray, it was nothing to fly up to Wheaton," Vermillion told the source. "The airplane was just... a quick way of getting there. He flew a lot."

Michael Backus, father of Chris, said his 17-year-old daughter tried to reach Chris on the day of the crash, but was unable to get in contact with him.

"She tried and she couldn't understand why he never got back to her," Michael Backus told the source. "I still can't believe it's real."

The Harris family was well-known in the Marion community. Ray Harris was considered a pillar in the local economy, as he owned Ray Harris Chrysler Jeep.

"He was a self-made man," Vermillion told the newspaper. "He started out as a car salesman and he eventually bought the business. He was a family man - he cared about his family."

McHenry County officials told the source that all four passengers were pronounced dead on the scene. The single-engine plane crashed in a farm field near U.S. Highway 14 in unincorporated McHenry County. The Federal Aviation Administration said there is no available information on the source of the plane or where it was headed, and the aircraft was never in touch with air traffic control along its route.

Deaths from plane crashes do not always occur on site. A recent plane crash in Haralson County, Georgia, claimed two lives at the scene and left a third victim severely burned and injured. Haralson County officials reported that a few days after the crash, however, the third victim died in the hospital due to complications associated with injuries from the crash. As plane crashes force pilots and passengers to shoulder large repair and medical bills, pilot insurance is a good investment to help alleviate these burdens.

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