3 dead after small plane crashes into Florida house
(CNN) — The woman who scrambled to safety after a small plane crashed into her Florida home gave thanks to God on Saturday for allowing her to escape without a scratch and for keeping her family safe.
Susan Crockett stood in front of her one-story Palm Coast home, which now has a huge black hole where the four-seater plane went down Friday afternoon, killing all three people aboard.
“God is good. He really is,” Crockett told reporters. “I got out without a scratch on me. A little bruise from taking a tumble through the window, but other than that, I’m fine. I’m blessed. Truly, God was with me.”
The 1957 Bonanza H35 took off from Fort Pierce, Florida, and was on its way to Knoxville when the pilot reported engine trouble, officials said.
“From what we’ve been told, the pilot was having some malfunctions in flight,” said Chief Investigator Terry Duprie of the National Transportation Safety Board.
The plane was diverting to Flagler County Airport, near the coast about 30 miles north of Daytona Beach, when it crashed a mile east of the airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.
Killed in the crash were Michael R. Anders, 57, and Duane L. Shaw, 59, both of Albany, Kentucky, and Charissee M. Peoples, 42, of Indianapolis, Indiana, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
A preliminary NTSB report on the crash is expected in about 10 days, Duprie said, but the full investigation is expected to take many months.
Investigators will try to figure out why the plane made such a steep descent into the home and whether the weather conditions — light rain and low clouds — played any role, he said.
Tall pine trees surround the home, which is in a rural residential area home to many retirees.
The crash caused an intense fire that incinerated much of the plane, something that will make the investigation difficult, Duprie said. But the pilot was talking to air traffic controllers in Daytona Beach, “and I think that will help us out quite a bit down the road.”
Crockett said she was getting ready to leave her house when something told her to stop. A few more feet, she said, and she would have been hit.
Her college-age daughter, Jessica, who was home for the holidays, would have been lounging on a bed that’s now “charred and mangled” if she hadn’t decided to head back to school a few days early, Crockett said.
Crockett’s grandson often comes over to her house, where “he stands in front of the television that’s now a big glob of metal,” but his dad decided to take him to day care Friday, she said.
Members of Crockett’s church bought her clothes and shoes to wear, since she escaped the house with next to nothing. She did manage to rescue the folded flag she received after her sister, who was in the Army, died about three years ago. It’s blackened, but intact, she said.
“I’m just praising God that I’m alive,” Crockett said Saturday.