Federal investigators looking into yesterday’s private aircraft crash in Palm Coast have identified the three occupants to local Historic City News reporters; the pilot of the ill-fated flight, was a Spanish teacher at Clinton County High School in Albany, Kentucky.
Tragically, Michael R. Anders, the pilot that crash-landed in a ball of fire, celebrated his 58th birthday yesterday; he was born on January 4, 1955.
According to a report received in the news room this afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed that Anders told air traffic controllers in a radio transmission that he was experiencing engine trouble.
“They were experiencing vibrations in the propeller and oil pressure problems,” an NTSB spokesman told reporters. “Anders said that smoke was emanating from the cockpit.” When he ran into rough weather, he attempted to make an emergency landing at the Flagler County Airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Anders was flying under visual flight rules. The regulations allow pilots to use sight to guide their planes in good weather rather than rely on instruments. “The pilot reported that he had flown into rain and fog,” authorities said. Weather, they believe, may have played a factor in the crash.
Also on board were 59-year-old Duane L. Shaw, also of Albany, and 42-year-old Charissee M. Peoples of Indianapolis. None of the three passengers on board survived the crash after the plane nose-dived into Susan Crockett’s Utica Path home — just one mile short of the airport runway.
Crockett escaped through her bedroom window as her home went up in flames — along with the aircraft and most of the structure of her residence.
After word of the tragedy reached his hometown, the pilot’s friends told reporters that Anders was passionate about flying. He regularly flew ultralight planes and studied for his pilot license while living in Ohio. After leaving the U.S. Navy, Anders lived in the British Virgin Islands for a time and traveled back to St. Croix often.