(Willoughby Hills) – Four Case Western Reserve University students died Monday night when their small plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the four had rented the plane for four hours. They had not filed a flight plan. The 1999 Cessna Model 172R had just taken off, and crashed shortly after takeoff on the west side of Bishop Road in Willoughby Hills. Once the place hit the ground, it became engulfed in flames.

The pilot has been identified as William Felton, 20, of Saginaw, Michigan. The passengers were Lucas Marcelli, 20, of Massillon; Abraham Pishevar, 18, of Rockville, Maryland; and John Hill, 18, of St. Simons, Georgia.  

Felten and Marcelli were second-year students at CWRU, Hill and Pishevar were first-year students.  Marcelli, Pishevar and Hill were all members of the CWRU varsity wrestling team.  Felton and Marcelli were fraternity members.

In a statement, CWRU president Barbara Snyder says, "I write with profound sadness to inform you that we believe the four individuals killed in last night's local plane crash were undergraduates at our university. We are waiting for official confirmation of their identities by law enforcement, but the information we have secured to date provides us relative certainty. We have notified the parents of the young people involved, and representatives from University Counseling Services are working closely with their roommates and close friends. The counseling office will have walk-in hours all day today for those who wish to speak with someone about this tragedy. We will provide additional updates as soon as possible. For now, please join me in extending our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of these students."

CWRU has opened its counseling office to those who knew the four students.

The FAA and NTSB will be investigating the crash.

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(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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