A pilot and one passenger aboard an experimental aircraft have suffered fatal injuries when the plane they were flying crashed about 30-40 yards into the woods; approximately 1/10th of a mile off of SR 13 near River Town.
The incident began yesterday when several planes took off from an airport in Putnam County as part of an aviation club function.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office became aware of an overdue aircraft around 9:30 this morning after a family member of the pilot reported he was overdue back in Jacksonville.
The plane was scheduled to return to Herlong Airport after the flight.
According to a pilot with the Florida Wildlife Commission, some of the pilots participating in the function believed the missing plane had diverted from the group to fly to St. Augustine Airport for lunch.
A check at the St. Augustine airport revealed that the plane was not there.
A pilot with The Florida Wildlife Commission who was already involved in the search via helicopter reported that he had located a general aviation crash site in Northwest St. Johns County
After landing and entering the the crash site on foot, the FWC officer confirmed that there were two individuals onboard and both were dead.
A perimeter was established around the site by The Sheriff’s Office who began the preliminary investigation. The crash will be fully investigated and turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.
The Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct autopsies to confirm the identities of the two bodies discovered in the aircraft.