It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of a family that were headed, presumably to join with family members to enjoy Christmas.
Officials have announced that five people were killed, including family members, on Sunday morning after their small plane crashed after taking off from a Central Florida airport in heavy fog.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release the twin-engine private plane took off around 7:15 a.m. from the Bartow Municipal Airport, located about 45 miles east of Tampa, and headed east into the fog before it crashed.
“This is an absolutely horrific tragedy, especially on Christmas Eve,” Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference. “Please keep these victims and their family members in your prayers.”
The sheriff’s office said “multiple people” were on board the Cessna 340 aircraft and all perished in the crash. Polk County Sheriff’s Office confirmed five people on board, including the pilot, “perished upon or immediately after impact.”
“UPDATE to #BartowPlaneCrash – the twin-engine private plane that crashed at the Bartow Airbase this morning pulled out of the hangar around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 24, 2017.
Preliminary information is that the plane took off around 7:15 a.m. heading east. For unknown reasons, it crashed shortly after takeoff. It was foggy at the time.
The crash occurred near the PCSO Aviation Unit hangar, which is on Ben Durrance Road (cross street Bomber Road) in unincorporated Bartow. The Polk County Mosquito Control Office is also nearby.
There was a fire after the plane crashed, which was put out by Polk County Fire Rescue personnel. Everyone on board perished. We have not yet positively identified the victims, nor notified next of kin. We do not yet have an accurate number of how many victims there are.
PCSO is conducting the death investigation. We will release information related to the deaths and the victims’ identities when we can, which likely will not be for several hours.
The NTSB is en-route to investigate the cause of the plane crash. They will answer all inquiries related to the crash.
Please contact PCFR for any questions about the fire they extinguished.
This is all we are at liberty to release at this time.
This is a horrific tragedy, especially on Christmas Eve, and the victims and their families are in our prayers.”
A photo from the scene of the Cessna 340 plane crash at the #BartowAirbase. FAA has arrived, NTSB is en route. Once we can release more about victims we will. Praying for these victims & their families. #BartowPlaneCrash pic.twitter.com/5jhFmPu1dS
— Polk County Sheriff (@PolkCoSheriff) December 24, 2017
Their new update includes names of victims:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families. This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve. We are providing all of our resources to assist them with anything they need to help them get through this horrific tragedy.”
– Grady Judd, Sheriff
Final update to the Cessna 340 (twin-engine) plane crash that occurred in Bartow this morning. As a reminder, PCSO is conducting the death investigation portion of this. The FAA and NTSB will investigate the cause of the crash.
Although the Medical Examiner will positively identify the victims, based on interviews with family and friends, and witnesses at the Bartow Airport, we believe the following five adult victims were on-board the plane:
The pilot, 70-year-old John Shannon, a local attorney from Lakeland;
John’s daughter, 24-year-old Olivia Shannon, a Southeastern University student, of Lakeland;
John’s daughter, 26-year-old Victoria Shannon Worthington, a Baltimore school teacher, of Baltimore, MD;
Victoria’s husband, 27-year-old Peter Worthington, Jr., a third year law student at the University of Maryland, of Baltimore, MD;
Family friend, 32-year-old Krista Clayton, a local teacher at Jewett Academy, of Lakeland.
The pilot, John Shannon, filed a flight plan this morning to fly to Key West. His daughter and her husband arrived in town yesterday for the holidays, from Baltimore, where they live. Krista joined the family on the trip.
All of the victims perished upon or immediately after impact. Autopsies will be conducted later this week to determine their exact causes of death.
Please keep their families in your prayers. Please hug your loved ones a little bit tighter today.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends.
H/T FOX NEWS
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