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Victims of Ohio plane crash include 7 Florida real estate workers

By Andrew V. Pestano

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Several victims in the Akron, Ohio, plane crash that killed at least nine people were employees of a real estate developer based in Boca Raton, Fla., the company said.

The victims worked for Pebb Enterprises and include 50-year-old Diane Smoot, a company executive. Another executive and five other employees were among the dead. Smoot was the mother of 21-year-old twins, a son and daughter.

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"I texted her after I saw the news report and she didn't reply," Smoot's sister, Jeannie Ferrara, told NewsNet5.

Pebb Enterprises released a statement on the crash Wednesday:

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"Our hearts are broken this morning with the news of the tragic accident that took the lives of two principals and five employees of Pebb Enterprises," the company wrote on its website. "We are shocked and deeply saddened for the families, colleagues and friends of those who perished. Our first priority is to give our fullest support to the family members and loved ones of our co-workers. We ask for the media's understanding and cooperation at this time of unimaginable loss and mourning and are not responding to media requests at this time."

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The Hawker H25 business jet departed from Dayton early Tuesday afternoon and was due to land at Akron Fulton International Airport. The plane crashed at about 3 p.m. into a residential neighborhood during foggy and rainy conditions.

"Our hearts and thoughts are with the families that are affected by this," Akron Mayor Jeff Fusco told the Akron Beacon Journal. "Sad, sad day here."

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No one on the ground was injured. The house that received the brunt of the crash was not occupied at the time, according to authorities.

The plane clipped power lines and ended up in the apartment building, officials said. An adjacent apartment building was also clipped as the plane went down. The resulting fire burned for more than 90 minutes.

Doug G. Ware contributed to this report.

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