Small Plane Crash in Levy County Still Under Investigation
Driving off state road 121, if you take a back road through some woods, you'll find the home-made private landing strip where pilots 47 year old Mike Fuller from Port Orange and 74 year old Ralph Terry from Daytona Beach died on Saturday. They had been flying a 1956 Beech Craft T-34. Officials aren't revealing much about the circumstances. Todd Gunther is an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board and he says "at this point, we know as much as you do. The only thing that we got is a report that the aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances and there were two victims on board and they were fatally injured."
But the witnesses I spoke to say they have a pretty good idea of what happened. Off camera, some men who work on the strip told me the pilot decided to do a more acrobatic maneuver across the runway, where it could have run out of space and fuel...that's when the plane took a nosedive and fell straight down, killing both pilots instantly.
Investigators from the NTSB are coming in from Washington, D.C and Saint Louis to determine exactly what happened.
"One of the things that we do during an investigation," Gunther says, "is we try to look at everything. So we'll be looking at the systems on the airplane, the structure on the airplane, the power plans, the weather conditions at the time and the physiology of the pilot."
Levy County Sheriff's Deputies originally responded to the crash and they say weather was most likely not the cause. Fuller was flying the plane which belonged to the more senior pilot, Terry.
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