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May 10, 2011
A Vermont dentist and his office manager both died when a small single-engine private plane crashed in a cornfield in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on Friday.
The 52-year-old dentist from Waterbury Center, Vermont, was piloting his 2004 Lancair plane when he began to lose fuel pressure, which he reported to the Wilmington, North Carolina, airport air traffic control tower. The pilot told authorities that he would try to make an emergency landing at the Jacksonville airport but he crashed three miles away from Jacksonville’s Albert J. Ellis Airport.
The 35-year-old woman who was a passenger on the plane worked as office manager in the dentist’s private family practice. She was reportedly mom to four children under the age of 15.
The dentist had previously survived two other small plane crashes, one in 2007 and one in 2009.
North Carolina Highway Patrol Sergeant Michael Whaley told Burlington Free Press that the pilot passed Albert J. Ellis Airport and then made a U-turn to return there but never made it.
Whaley said that the plane smelled of fuel at the crash site, which indicated that it had not run out of gas.
Representatives from both The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board visited the crash site over the weekend and are investigating the cause of the accident.
Would you feel safe aboard a small plane?
If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, contact the national aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy.
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