Shacklefords, VA Skydiver Plane Crash, Sep 1995
12 KILLED AS PLANE SKYDIVES INTO HOME.
Shacklefords, Va. (AP) - A plane carrying 11 members of a skydiving school crashed into a house and exploded on Sunday, killing a man sitting on his back porch and everyone aboard.
The house caught fire, but authorities said no one else living in the row of about 10 houses along a woodsy lane in rural Tidewater Virginia was injured.
Mattie Byrd was lying in bed when she heard the plane laboring overhead: "I saw the plane in the air, and it turned like it wanted to go back the other way, then it made a nosedive."
"I was assuming it was coming in the back door of my house. It sounded like it was going through something, and then it went boom. By the time we got outside, it had blown and there was fire everywhere."
A body count at the scene confirmed there were 11 people on the plane, said Mary Evans, a state police spokeswoman. She said their names would not be released until Monday.
Byrd said her neighbor, VINCENT HARRIS, owned a trucking company and moonlighted as a Baptist minister, was killed but his son, Vincent, Jr., who is 8 or 9, was playing outside and wasn't injured.
"Right after the crash, there was a couple of people tried to get in there to get him but they couldn't. It was all in flames," she said. The fire melted the vinyl siding on her house, about 50 feet from the Harris home.
The plane, a Beechcraft Queen Air BE-65, went down about 6:45 p.m. just east of Shacklefords, about 40 miles east of Richmond. It crashed about 15 minutes after takeoff from West Point Municipal Airport, said Arlene Salac, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The pilot and parachutists were from a skydiving school based at the airport, which is about 1 1/2 miles from the crash site, Evans said.
The seats in the twin-engine plane had been removed so it could carry as many as 12 people for skydiving, Ms. Salac said. A man who answered the phone at the school declined to comment.
The plane was owned by Peninsula Skydiving, Ms. Salac said. There was no telephone listing for Peninsula Skydiving.
There was no immediate indication what caused the crash. FAA and National Transportation Safety Board agents were investigating.
Santa Cruz Sentinel California 1995-09-11
Listing of the Fatalities:
NICK CHRISTIAN, 30, Pilot, Hampton, Virginia.
CHESLEY JUDY, 56, Reston, Virginia.
JAMES PRATT, 36, Wheaton, Virginia.
VINCENT HARRIS, SR., 44, on ground.