Published: Tue, December 26, 2017
Sports | By Toni Houston

5 killed after plane attempted takeoff at airport 'socked in with fog'

5 killed after plane attempted takeoff at airport 'socked in with fog'

"Clearly, no one should have tried a takeoff", said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Lawyer John Shannon, 70, of Lakeland, Fla., ran for a state representative's seat in 2014 but lost in the August Republican primary to Colleen Burton, who still holds the office.

Authorities identified the four passengers as Shannon's daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, and Victoria Shannon-Worthington, 26; Shannon-Worthington's husband, Peter Worthington Jr., 27; and a family friend, Krista Clayton, 32, of Lakeland. The fog was so thick that the plane could not be seen in the video, he said.

The Cessna aircraft took off despite thick fog that had settled over the airport shortly before sunrise and had limited visibility to less than one-fifth of a mile.

The private plane was heading east into heavy fog when it took off, according to the sheriff's office.

Olivia Shannon, 24, was a student at Southeastern University in Lakeland.

Victoria's husband Peter also flew in from Baltimore on Saturday, according to Sheriff Judd. But Judd said it appeared that fog could have been a factor in the accident.

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"Ironically, about an hour later the fog lifted and it's a handsome Florida day", Sheriff Judd said. Victoria was a school teacher in Baltimore, Maryland, and Peter was a law student at the University of Maryland, Judd said. The newlyweds got married in June 2017.

John Shannon was still practicing law, and had also embraced two other passions: politics and planes. "Krista joined the family on the trip", the news release said.

Judd said earlier that he personally knew at least one person on the plane.

In Florida, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating Sunday's plane crash.

The twin-engine plane was trying to take off from the airport in Bartow. The sheriff - at times becoming emotional while speaking of his friend - said he was told Shannon brought cookies for the Bartow airport staff.

While the cause of the incident is under investigation, "it was very foggy at the time", the sheriff's office said, adding that a fire followed the crash.

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