2 Indiana couples killed in small plane crash off Florida coast
VENICE, Fla. (WNDU) - Two couples from central Indiana were killed in a small plane crash Wednesday night off of the coast of western Florida.
According to our sister station WTHR in Indianapolis, the victims were Jeff (64) and Patty (68) Lumpkin of Fishers and Rick (60) and Bethe (57) Beaver of Noblesville.
Police and fire personnel in Venice, Fla., were called just before 9:40 p.m. to the Venice Fishing Pier. Officials say the crash happened about a half-mile from the pier in the Gulf of Mexico. Several witnesses saw the crash and called 911.
WTHR reports the single engine plane crashed soon after takeoff from Venice Municipal Airport as it was heading back to St. Petersburg, Fla. The couples had flown to Venice earlier that day to have dinner with friends.
Venice Fire Rescue says the bodies of Jeff and Rick were recovered Wednesday evening, while the bodies of Patty and Bethe were recovered Thursday morning.
Currently, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators are working to learn more on what might have caused the crash. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records show Lumpkin owned a Piper Cherokee Lance, which can accommodate up to seven people.
According to data collected by the NTSB, there have been 29 accidents at the Venice Municipal Airport since 2004, nine of which involved fatalities.
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