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Phoenix-area couple dies in Bahamas plane crash

INDIANAPOLIS -- A central Indiana pilot and a northwestern Indiana woman described by friends and family as adventurers died in a plane crash in the Bahamas that also killed an Arizona couple, authorities said Tuesday.

The crash Sunday in waters off Grand Bahama island killed Anthony Wishart, 59, of Fishers; Cynthia Mierzwa, 62, of rural Valparaiso; and Glen and Leslie Steiner of Mesa, Ariz., the Royal Bahamas Police Force said Tuesday.

Wishart and his wife, Diane, were visiting the Bahamas as part of a trip that also took them to nearby Florida and Hilton Head Island, S.C., the pilot's sister-in-law, Meachelle Wishart, told The Indianapolis Star.

``He went all over the world,'' Meachelle Wishart said. ``He often rode off-road motorcycles. He snow skied. He waterskied. Anything adventurous, he liked to do.''

He was an accountant who also bought and managed real estate, she said, adding that he also had about two decades' experience as a pilot.

The plane crashed minutes after takeoff from the island's international airport, said Emrick Seymour, assistant police commissioner for Grand Bahama. He said the pilot radioed that the plane was ``experiencing some engine problems.''

The plane that crashed, a single-engine Cirrus SR22, was registered to a partnership called First Class Flyers LLC, made up of pilots from around Indiana who shared planes for private use.

Mierzwa's former husband, Fred Mierzwa of Crete, Ill., told The Times newspaper in Munster that the family was notified by Bahamian officials that those aboard the plane were sightseeing at the time of the crash and that all of the bodies had been recovered.

Cynthia Mierzwa was a longtime neonatal nurse at several hospitals in Chicago's south suburbs and most recently had been a home health care practitioner with Franciscan St. James Health in Chicago Heights, Fred Mierzwa said.

``She was a beautiful person inside and out,'' he said. ``She was well loved and respected. She was the epitome of a caregiver.''

Bob Lendi, 66, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., told The Times that he and his wife saw Cynthia Mierzwa a few times a year.

``Cindy was a first-class lady,'' he said. ``She was a bubbly, fun-loving person that was always ready for a new adventure.''

KPHO-TV in Phoenix said the Steiners owned a plumbing business.

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