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2 dead after plane registered in St. Augustine crashes

12:23 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A developing story that ties St. Augustine to a deadly plane crash in Gary, Indiana.

The Gary Police Department has confirmed at least one Floridian died when the Cirrus SR 22 single-engine plane went down Wednesday morning. Special Operations Commander Sean Jones said the bodies of two men were removed from the scene about six hours after the crash.

The Lake County Coroner's Office said it was still working to identify the victims and notify their relatives.

Flight records show the plane, registered to Gandy Air LLC in St. Augustine, took off from Northeast Florida Regional Airport Tuesday afternoon and arrived in Smyrna, TN.  It left Smyrna Wednesday morning but crashed about two hours later in Gary, Indiana about a mile from the airport, where it was scheduled to arrive.

The plane crashed in a wooded area just a few hundred yards from a charter school where students were in class. Investigators say the pilot never sent a distress signal. 

Witnesses describe seeing the plane crash. "We heard the airplane. It sounded like the engine was sputtering and then it just dropped out of the sky. And then we saw a big ball, a big flash of fire and then smoke, and that was it," said Frances Guyton Ward.

Police say no one on the ground was injured but two men aboard the 4-seat plane died.

Back in St.Augustine, no one at Northeast Florida Regional Airport were not release any information about the pilot. Many weren't even aware a plane had crashed.

The NTSB and FAA are investigating this crash to determine what went wrong. They will back back at the scene Thursday morning.

First Coast News

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