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Three Killed as Small Plane Goes Down in Virginia Yard

March 02, 2003|From Associated Press

LEESBURG, Va. — Three people were killed Saturday when a small plane crashed in a neighborhood here.

The Socata TBM 700 turboprop plane went down in a backyard at 3:15 p.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Paul Turk said.

Authorities said pilot Don Fitzpatrick of Reston, Va., and co-pilot Gregory Jackson of Sterling, Va., were dead at the scene. Passenger Bronson Byrd of Purcellville, Va., died several hours later at Inova Fairfax Hospital, authorities said.

All three were employed by High Performance Technology of Arlington, Va.

Pixie Traynham, whose house sits about 75 yards from the crash site, said the plane landed between an outdoor playhouse and a home in the neighborhood about 30 miles northwest of Washington.

"It is incredible" that the plane didn't hit any houses, Traynham said. "We heard the sound of the engines and the crackling of the trees it hit and then just silence.

"It was clear to me that a plane had crashed," she said. She headed outside and spotted the plane's tail sticking out of a neighbor's backyard.

The victims were all inside the plane, which can carry as many as six passengers.

The plane was cleared to land at Leesburg Executive Airport, two miles from the crash site, Turk said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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