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North's Pilot Dies in Crash of Plane

March 19, 1994|Associated Press

WINCHESTER, Va. — Oliver L. North's campaign plane crashed Friday on its way to an early morning political event, killing the pilot. North had gotten off the plane hours before, and no one else was on board.

North, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, had flown from a campaign appearance in southside Virginia on Thursday night to Washington Dulles Airport.

Pilot Bobby R. Venable flew on to Winchester, and the two had planned to fly to Richmond together later Friday.

"I don't know why I'm still here and others aren't," North said. "I just know I've lost a dear friend."

Authorities say the twin-engine Swearingen Merlin IIIA apparently had engine trouble and went down shortly after midnight, about a quarter-mile from the Winchester airport.

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