An American motorcycle company that had
just opened a research-and-development and manufacturing plant in
Oklahoma has lost its leadership in a plane crash.
U.S. Highland , which this spring
announced plans to increase its workforce by 10 times and build
street and off-road motorcycles for the American market, is the U.S.
branch of a Swedish company that has built motors and motorcycles for
years, but has always been a small player. With its entry into the
United States and the formation of U.S. Highland, the company planned
some big moves and some interesting bikes.
But on Saturday night, company
president Mats Malmberg, 41, chief operations officer Chase Bales,
51, and chief financial officer Damian Riddoch, 37, were killed when
the twin-engine Cessna 421A they were flying in crashed as they were
returning from Detroit.
Bales was apparently flying the plane,
and requested an emergency landing at the Tulsa, Oklahoma,
international airport shortly before the plane went down in thick
woods in a park near the airport.
"They were all true visionaries and
will be deeply missed," said Dr. Steven A. Moell, the company’s
chief executive officer.
Malmberg, who died in a Tulsa hospital,
was a former pro motorcycle racer. He moved to Oklahoma two years ago
and brought the company with him.
U.S. Highland will name their
replacements today. The cause of the crash is unknown, but the
National Transportation Safety Board has an investigator at the