Wasola man dies in Little Rock crash while piloting plane
Wasola resident Sean Sweeney was killed Feb. 22 while piloting a twin-engine Beech B200 plane for CTEH, an environmental consulting firm whose headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkasnas. Sweeney and four employees of CTEH were flying to Ohio for work connected to the metal factory explosion site in Bedord, Ohio, the week before. One person was killed in the metal factory explosion and more than a dozen others were injured.
The plane crashed near the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, shortly after it took off. It was enroute to a Columbus, Ohio, airport.
In addition to Sweeney, the following CTEH employees died in the crash: 23-year-old Gunter Beaty, a production safety data manager; 36-year-old Kyle Bennett, a staffing manager and logistics worker; 41-year-old Michah Kendrick, a safety supervisor; and 32-year-old Glenmarus Walker, a rapid responder.
“It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of our colleagues - Gunter Beaty, Kyle Bennett, Micah Kendrick, Sean Sweeney and Glenmarkus Walker. They were valuable members of our team and CTEH family. We ask that you join us in praying for their families, friends and everyone here at CTEH during this difficult time,” a post on the company’s Facebook page says.
A GoFundMe page has been setup to accept donations that CTEH says will be directly donated to the families of the five men killed in the crash.
“To say that we have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support of our community would be an incredible understatement. Our CTEH family has received thousands of calls, texts and emails sharing condolences, memories, and messages of care over the last few days,” said an updated post Monday afternoon said. “We continue to be asked how folks can help - the best way is through the donation [GoFundMe link]. This additional fund has been established that will be split equally amongst the families of Gunter Beaty, Kyle Bennett, Micah Kendrick, Sean Sweeney, and Glenmarkus Walker to help their families plan for their futures. In lieu of flowers, food and other gifts, please consider donating this way directly to the surviving families.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com and search for “CTEH Family Fund.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the crash and what factors may have led to it. A preliminary report is expected in two weeks.
The National Weather Service says that the Little Rock area had a strong line of thunderstorms which included 40 mile per hour winds that came through the area at the time of the crash; however, it’s unclear if weather was a factor at the time.
Sweeney and wife Cleta have owned and operated The Concrete Works LLC, a business in Wasola that manufactures precast concrete feed bunks, water tanks and retaining wall blocks, since 1990. The business has been very successful over the years, and the Sweeneys have expanded operations multiple times. The couple hosted Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe and Sen. Karla Eslinger last fall during the “Buy Missouri” week.
Sweeney was also an accomplished pilot and had been flying for most of his life. He was known for aerobatic piloting skills.An article published in May 2018 explained that: “Ozark County resident Sean Sweeney, pictured in his DR-107 airplane, hosted a practice-and-critiquing event for 20 International Aerobatic Club members May 12 at West Plains Regional Airport in Pomona in preparation for the 2018 competition circuit. Six pilots flew in from around Missouri and surrounding states for the event. The group will meet again... for the first contest in a series that prepares contestants to find a place on national as well as international IAC teams.