Missouri man sent heartbreaking final selfie with friends to mother moments before plane crashed killing four
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MISSOURI: Before he took off from Creve Coeur Airport in Maryland Heights, on a private plane with three of his friends from university, a 37-year-old man sent a group selfie to his mother. He had no idea that the picture would be the last photo that he would ever take in his life as his life, along with the lives of his pals was cut short after the aircraft crashed in Illinois on Sunday, May 31, just moments later.
In the photo, Daniel Shedd looked like he was having the time of his life, sitting in the four-seater, single-engine plane, that was being piloted by his friend, 35-year-old Joshua Sweers. Daniel's dad, Charles Shedd, told KSDK that before the plane - a Piper Cherokee PA 28-235 fixed-wing - took flight, it had passed all of the necessary inspections and was in "excellent condition." It was a “gorgeous, well-maintained 1964 plane that just passed annual inspection. Josh was proud of it," Charles said.
“This was his first time flying with them and I’m not sure if he had ever been in a small plane before. He was looking forward to the trip," Charles said of his son. he had driven the gang to the airport on Sunday and the flying conditions could not have been more perfect. “They were in great spirits. They were happy. The weather was great.”
Daniel Shedd, Joshua Sweers, 39-year-old Daniel Schlosser, and New Yorker John Camilleri, 39, four graduates of Kettering University's School of Engineering in Michigan and members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, departed on the plane from the airport at 3.19 p.m. on Sunday and crashed just five minutes later near Carlinville, Illinois. All of them were declared dead by the Macoupin County Coroner at the crash scene at 4.27 p.m.
The crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Macoupin County sheriff’s office. FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said that the plane was destroyed on impact and they were yet to determine the cause of the accident. The crash was confirmed after Daniel's parents spoke with the police. Daniel worked as a quality engineer for the Department of Defense at Boeing and is survived by his parents and sister.
When Charles had difficulty tracking the plane on his iPhone app, he tried calling and texting his son but could not get in contact with him. After searching the plane's tail number on Google, he was able to find out that the plane had "basically dived into the ground." He was surprised by how much information he found about his son’s flight on a website which updated itself every 15 seconds. “According to this site, that tail number took off from Creve Coeur and basically went away a half hour later,” he said. “I thought, ‘There’s something wrong. I don’t know why it stopped giving updated information.'”
Then he got a notification on his wife's mobile from the website saying there had been a crash. “At the same time I was telling her, ‘I think they crashed,’ she was telling me, ‘I wasn’t going to tell you about the crash,’” he recalled through tears. “I called Carlinville police and got to the sheriff and ultimately talked with the coroner … He was the most wonderful son a parent could possibly have.”
Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Several people saw it and heard it. Witnesses heard a noise of some sort but they don’t know what it was. As far as what transpired in the air, I wouldn’t even begin to speculate on that.” According to the Sheriff, the weather was not a factor in the crash.