Four S. Floridians Aboard Small Plane That Crashed In Virginia Swamp

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (CBSMiami/AP) – Four people on a small plane that took-off from Ft. Lauderdale, said to have been on their way to a wedding in Virginia, was reported missing Thursday. The plane’s wreckage was spotted Friday afternoon.

The pilot of the plane, who had more than 30 years flying experience, was Theodore Bradshaw, 61, of Fort Lauderdale. The other victims on the plane include Theodore’s wife, Mary Anne Bradshaw; Charles Rodd, 64, and Diane Rodd, 58, both of Palm Beach, said Virginia State Police.

Because the crash site cannot be reached by vehicle, Dismal Swamp Canal Park officials planned to use a bulldozer to clear a path for 4-wheel-drive vehicles, said state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The wreckage was spotted by a privately owned helicopter Friday afternoon and crews were able to reach the crash site later Friday evening, state police said in a news release.

The Civil Air Patrol, park rangers and rescue personnel assisted in the search.

State police said the twin-propeller Cessna 340 left Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on Thursday morning with a scheduled arrival four hours later at Hampton Roads Executive Airport. The Norfolk air traffic control tower’s last radar contact was shortly after noon Thursday over the swamp.

After the wreckage was spotted by Hampton Roads Helicopters, coordinates of the twin-propeller Cessna 340′s location were given to search crews who reached the crash site by 6:30 p.m.

“We want to express our sincere appreciation to Hampton Roads Helicopters for their critical assistance with this search mission,” said state police Lt. Curtis Hardison of the Chesapeake division. “They not only supplied us with the necessary aerial support we needed to expedite this search operation, but provided two hours of flight time free of charge. Their generosity also helped bring closure to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic crash.”

The state medical examiner and federal investigators have been notified and the cause of the crash remains under investigation.\

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