NTSB investigating deadly airplane crash

Dec. 10, 2009 at 12:30 PM
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KISSIMMEE, Fla., Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A National Transportation Safety Board official said his agency is investigating the crash of a small airplane in Osceola County, Fla., that killed four.

NTSB investigator Shawn Etcher said the day of the deadly crash, communication between the pilot of the four-seat Cessna 172 and air traffic control in Orlando, Fla., suddenly ceased for undetermined reasons, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel said Wednesday.

Etcher said the cause of Monday's fatal crash remains undetermined.

"Airplanes don't just disappear unless something went wrong," he said.

Authorities have not formally identified the pilot and three passengers killed in the crash.

A Miami man named Manuel Vallina of Miami told the Sentinel the victims were relatives who were flying from Walt Disney World to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Vallina identified the victims as Carmen Blanco Herrera, 45, her son, Manuel, 19, along with her 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. The 19-year-old was likely piloting the aircraft, Vallina said.

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office said authorities are still attempting to retrieve remains of the victims from Lake Russell.

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