A joint memorial service is being planned for two MIT students killed November 21 in the Northampton, Mass., crash of single-engine plane that went out of control after a freefalling skydiver slammed into aircraft. No date has been set, but the service probably will be next week.
The students, Jonas R. Klein, 18, a freshman who was a pledge at Tau Epsilon Phi, and Christina Park, 18, a sophomore majoring in biology who lived at Senior House, were returning to campus from Poughkeepsie, NY. Also killed were Elliot Klein, 49, Jonas's father, of Rhinebeck, NY, who was flying the plane, and, Jean Kimbal, 45, of Pine Plains, NY, a friend of the Klein family, who went along for the ride. The skydiver, Alfred E. Peters, 51, of Westfield, MA, survived. He suffered a broken ankle.
The incident occurred above Northampton Airport in western Massachusetts, near the banks of the Connecticut River. Officials said the skydiver was the first of five to leave the plane at about 7,800 feet. The collision with the plane carrying the MIT students occurred at about 7,000 feet, according to newspaper and wire service reports that quoted an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. Mr. Peters struck the rear of the plane, damaging the vertical stabilizer. After hitting the plane he was able to open his parachute and land in the designated area, officials said.
News reports also said that the single-engine plane should not have been flying in the designated skydiving zone. Officials said the pilot apparently was not tuned to the proper frequency to hear warnings about the jump zone.
As the news of the crash spread across campus November 21 and the next day, students met with faculty house residents and members of Dean of Students office.
Mr. Klein, who was to have been initiated as a brother of his fraternity soon, was a graduate of Northfield-Mt. Hermon School in Northfield, Mass. His home was in the western Massachusetts town of Monterey. A statement by Adam C. Ganderson of TEP, also a freshman, was released to The Tech. It said: "The brothers and friends of Tau Epsilon Phi mourn the loss of our brother Jonas. He was a hacker in very sense of the word and we're all going to miss him greatly. We send our love and condolences to his family, friends and everyone who knew him."
A memorial service for Mr. Klein will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1, at Northfield-Mt. Hermon and several members of the MIT community are planning to attend.
Mr. Klein is survived by his mother, Mrs. Victoria Reed.
Ms. Park, from Auburn, WA, was a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School there. An oboe player, she had been a member of the Seattle Youth Symphony. Her friends at Senior House, and at East Campus where she lived last year, told The Tech they remembered her energy and creativity, her love for the field of biology, her quick and frequent smile, and her lack of fear about expressing her mind.
Ms. Park is survived by her parents, James and Cecelia Park of Auburn, Wash.
A version of this article appeared in the December 1, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 16).