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U Of C Student, Parents Killed In Downstate Plane Crash

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Rantoul Plane Crash

A family of three was killed over the weekend when a small plane crashed in downstate Rantoul. (Credit: CBS)

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RANTOUL, Ill. (CBS) — A University of Chicago undergrad and her parents were killed over the weekend when a single-engine plane went down in downstate Rantoul.

CBS affiliate WCIA-TV, Champaign, reported the plane took off around 9 a.m. Sunday from the Rantoul Airport, when went down and burst into flames. Rantoul is located about 125 miles southwest of Chicago.

Investigators have yet to identify the cause of the crash, but say severe weather was moving into the area and it was windy outside.

“It was like a 100, 200 feet of just solid flames come down. I thought some tension wire come down, then shortly after that we found out a plane hit the tension wires,” Terence Rissky, who was staying at a nearby camp ground, told WCIA-TV.

The victims were identified as pilot Jon Buerkett, 56 his wife Dana, 47, and their 19-year-old daughter, Morgan, all of Champaign.

Two family dogs, named Fran and Stan, were also killed in the crash, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Morgan completed her first year of college at the University of Chicago this past June. She was an outside and middle blocker for the Maroons women’s volleyball team.

Morgan Buerkett

The Facebook page for Morgan Buerkett, who was killed in a plane crash last week. (Credit: Facebook)

On her Twitter page, Morgan described herself as “a ’paign native and chi town wannabe.”

The family was reportedly flying to Florida so Morgan could attend a sports training camp.

The family is survived by oldest daughter Ashley, who was not on the plane, WCIA reported.

A friend tells WCIA that Jon Buerkett was an accomplished pilot and maintained his plane well. The plane was a Piper PA 46, the Tribune reported.

A memorial service for the family will be held at 5 p.m. Monday at St. Thomas More High School in Champaign.

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