Gainesville, Florida – Three people were killed in a Florida airplane crash early Friday morning at the edge of the Gainesville Regional Airport. The victims were identified as Key West residents, one of whom was on his way to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida for a transplant.
According to Gainesville police, the pilot, Andrew Ricciuti, 43 was a former Navy pilot who has been flying planes for twenty years.
The two passengers were also identified. Gordon Bennett Taylor, 51, and his wife, Barbara Taylor, 52 were killed in the crash. Their daughter is a student at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
The airplane was a Parntenavia P.68 which was registered to Robert Valle of St. Croix. Valle said Gordon Taylor was a kidney-transplant patient en route to Gainesville. He was scheduled to have surgery on Friday at Shands Hospital.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, the aircraft was cleared for approach to the Gainesville airport by air traffic controllers in Jacksonville at around 2:45 am.
Gainesville police received a phone call from officials in Jacksonville at approximately 5:16am on Friday advising them that they had lost contact with a six-passenger airplane in the Gainesville area.
It was not immediately known why there was a 2-1/2 hour delay after the time the plane was cleared for approach before local law enforcement was contacted. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators were in Gainesville investigating the cause of this Florida aviation accident.
This is the first airplane crash at the airport in three years.
The NTSB investigation continues.
The NTSB is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in addition to other transportation accidents and issuing recommendations to help prevent future accidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that approximately eighty-three percent of all general aviation accidents are the result of pilot error. However, that is not always the case.
Often, aviation accidents are the result of poor aircraft maintenance or air-traffic controller error.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Florida aviation accident involving a commercial air plane, a charter airplane, a helicopter or a private air plane, contact a Florida aviation accident lawyer today.