Polk County Sheriff’s Office Press Release
UPDATE to the Cessna 340 (twin-engine) plane crash that occurred in Bartow this morning. As a reminder, PCSO is conducting the death investigation portion of this. The FAA and NTSB will investigate the cause of the crash.
Although the Medical Examiner will positively identify the victims, based on interviews with family and friends, and witnesses at the Bartow Airport, we believe the following five adult victims were on-board the plane:
The pilot, 70-year-old John Shannon, a local attorney from Lakeland;
John’s daughter, 24-year-old Olivia Shannon, a Southeastern University student, of Lakeland;
John’s daughter, 26-year-old Victoria Shannon Worthington, a Baltimore school teacher, of Baltimore, MD;
Victoria’s husband, 27-year-old Peter Worthington, Jr., a third year law student at the University of Maryland, of Baltimore, MD;
Family friend, 32-year-old Krista Clayton, a local teacher at Jewett Academy, of Lakeland.
The pilot, John Shannon, filed a flight plan this morning to fly to Key West. His daughter and her husband arrived in town yesterday for the holidays, from Baltimore, where they live. Krista joined the family on the trip.
This is all the information we have to release about this investigation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families. This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve. We are providing all of our resources to assist them with anything they need to help them get through this horrific tragedy.” – Grady Judd, Sherif
UPDATE to plane crash in Bartow – the twin-engine private plane that crashed at the Bartow Airbase this morning pulled out of the hangar around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 24, 2017.
Preliminary information is that the plane took off around 7:15 a.m. heading east, into heavy fog. For unknown reasons, but likely related to the fog, it crashed shortly after takeoff.
The crash occurred near the PCSO Aviation Unit hangar, which is on Ben Durrance Road (cross street Bomber Road) in unincorporated. The Polk County Mosquito Control Office is also nearby.
There was a fire after the plane crashed, which was put out by Polk County Fire Rescue personnel. Everyone on board perished. We have not yet positively identified the victims, nor notified next of kin. We do not yet have an accurate number of how many victims there are.
PCSO is conducting the death investigation. We will release information related to the deaths and the victims’ identities when we can, which likely will not be for several hours.
The NTSB is en-route to investigate the cause of the plane crash. They will answer all inquiries related to the crash.
Please contact PCFR for any questions about the fire they extinguished.
This is all we are at liberty to release at this time.
This is a horrific tragedy, especially on Christmas Eve, and the victims and their families are in our prayers.