Purdue Students Killed in Indiana Plane Crash

Joshua Deboer, of Lynwood, Ill., had just recently received his pilot's license

By Kim Vatis
|  Friday, Sep 16, 2011  |  Updated 8:11 PM CDT
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Joshua Deboer, of Lynwood, Ill., was piloting plane that also carried fellow mechanical engineering student Joseph Neuzerling.

Joshua Deboer, of Lynwood, Ill., was piloting plane that also carried fellow mechanical engineering student Joseph Neuzerling.

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A flight instructor who lost his own son in a plane crash found himself on Friday mourning the death of one of his students who was killed when his small plane crashed into a suburban Indianapolis golf course.

Killed were the 21-year-old pilot, Joshua Deboer, of Lynwood, Ill., and his passenger, 21-year-old Joseph Neuzerling, of Noblesville, Ind.

Both were mechanical engineering students at Purdue University.

"A very nice young man. It's very unfortunate," said Wade Palmer, who owns the school where Deboer learned to fly. "It's very sad and I was very shocked to hear about it because Josh was a very good pilot. He took all of his training here with us, and he was a very accomplished."

Witnesses said the plane was flying normally Thursday afternoon just before it suddenly spiraled into the ground at Noblesville's Harbour Trees Golf Club, which winds through a neighborhood along Morse Reservoir.

"It was like a loud -- kind of like a cannon going off in the distance," said a witness.

No injuries were reported on the ground.

Deboer got just recently earned his pilot's license. According to family friend Judy Byma, he was flying his father's plane, which was housed at a Lansing airport and rented out to the public.

"He was a good pilot," said Byma. "I don't know what went wrong... It's just a tragedy."

Purdue University on Friday issued a statement echoing that sentiment.

"This is a tragic loss for not only their family and friends, but for everyone in the Purdue community... Both these young men had bright futures," the university said in a written statement.

A cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

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