By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 20:12 EST, 5 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:05 EST, 6 January 2013
Authorities on Saturday identified the three victims killed when their small plane crashed into a house and burst into flames after trying to land at a central Florida airport.
Florida Highway Patrol officials said the victims were pilot Michael Anders of Albany, Kentucky, and his two friends 59-year-old Duane Shaw and 42-year-old Charissee Peoples, of Indianapolis.
Anders, who worked as a Spanish teacher at a local high school, died on his 58th birthday. Shaw and Peoples were engaged to be married.
On Friday, the 1957 Beechcraft H35 Bonanza the trio were in was heading from Fort Pierce to Knoxville, Tennessee, when it experienced mechanical problems and went down.
Anders told air-traffic controllers that the plane was smoking, vibrating and had oil pressure problems minutes before crashing into a Palm Coast home. The plane was also entering bad weather.
‘I need some help here,’ Anders said. He seemed calm in his conversation with controllers, telling them he had ‘three souls on board,’ according to transcripts released Sunday.
Controllers were trying to use a surveillance approach to guide him into the Flagler County Airport.
He warned the plane was going to drop quickly. Moments later, the plane apparently nose-dived into a house, setting off a fireball of flames.
Homeowner Susan Crockett was already outside when rescuers arrived, screaming that a plane had crashed into her house. She was taken to the hospital as a precaution and listed in stable condition.
The crash sent insulation flying in the air, almost like it was snowing, witnesses said.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were on scene Saturday investigating the crash. Board spokesman Eric Weiss said the crash produced an intense heat fire that consumed most of the wreckage.
After collecting all the evidence and information they can, investigators planned to send the plane’s engine to its manufacturer for closer analysis.
On Saturday, the Clinton County School District, where Anders taught Spanish and coached the chess and golf teams, released a statement, which read in part that the veteran educator ‘will be deeply missed by staff and students.’
Anders leaves behind a wife, Patti, and two adult children. Those who knew him described the 58-year-old as innovative and energetic teacher.
‘He was a dear, just unique and funny and always had a lot of good ideas,’ friend Sue Walsh told Orlando Sentinel Saturday.
Anders and his two friends were returning from a holiday in the Caribbean on Friday when their single-engine aircraft crashed into a Palm Coast home at around 2.20pm, about a mile from the Flager County Airport.
Witnesses and authorities said Susan Crockett, who lived in the home on Utica Path, was in a back bedroom and climbed out a window to safety after the crash.
She told reporters that just before the wreckage, she was getting ready to leave the house, but something had stopped her, CNN reported.
‘God is good. He really is,’ Crockett said. ‘I got out without a scratch on me. A little bruise from taking a tumble through the window, but other than that, I’m fine. I’m blessed. Truly, God was with me.’
The plane was registered to the 58-year-old teacher in the British Virgin Islands, but the registration expired in March, according to the Federal Aviation Administration records cited by the Knoxville News Sentinel.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office reports that the pilot declared an emergency shortly after 2pm Friday, saying that the plane was shaking.
The Federal Aviation Authority issued the following statement:
‘A BE35 aircraft enroute to Downtown Island Airport in Knoxville, TN, reported a mechanical problem and was diverting to Flagler County Airport in FL. Plane crashed one mile east of airport into a house. Three persons on board.’
Charlie Ericksen, the Flagler County commissioner, was escorted through the crash zone at about 3:30 p.m., after the fire was out, and said he saw “just a destroyed roof area with smoke still coming out of it, scattered debris. All we saw was the tail section sticking out of the roof.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257809/Florida-plane-crash-Pilot-small-plane-crashed-Florida-home-died-58th-birthday.html#ixzz2HEG1S9kS
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