Five people lost their lives today when the twin-engine plane in which they were traveling in central Florida crashed, moments after taking off, authorities said.
According to the Twitter account of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Cessna 340 plane crashed at the end of a runway near Ben Durrance Road, possibly due to fog, which provided little or no visibility.
“Five people in total were on board the plane crash in Bartow,” police said in a statement.
He explained that in the plane piloted by Lakeland local lawyer John Shannon, 70 years old, were his two adult daughters, Olivia (24) and Victoria (26), along with the husband of the latter, Peter Worthington Jr (27 ), and the friend of the Krista Clayton family.
The pilot presented this morning a flight plan to get to Key West with Olivia and Victoria, who arrived from Baltimore with her husband to spend the holidays with the family, as well as Krista, who joined the family on the trip.
“All the victims perished at the time of the impact or immediately afterwards,” Polk Police said in a statement, noting that the autopsies will be carried out later this week to determine the exact causes of their deaths.
Olivia was a college student in Lakeland, Victoria was a school teacher in Baltimore, her husband, Peter, was a third-year law student at the University of Maryland and Krista was a teacher at the Jewett Academy.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shannon, Worthington and Clayton families, this is a tragedy at any time, but it is much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve,” said County Sheriff Grady Judd.
“We are providing all our resources to help them (families) with whatever they need to overcome this terrible tragedy,” he added.
Bartow is a city located in Polk County and is located about 96 km from Orlando and about 72 km from Tampa in the US state of Florida.