2 Families Killed in Small Plane Crashes

Saturday, December 23, 2006

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Small planes crashed in Tennessee and South Carolina, killing two families _ eight people in all, authorities said.

A family of four from Davie, Fla., died when their small plane crashed in a wooded residential area near Chattanooga, where they had planned to visit relatives.

Nelson McPherson reported problems with the plane's landing instruments before the crash Friday, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department said.

Some passengers appeared to have been ejected from the single-engine Beech 36 when it hit a tree five miles north of the city, officials told The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Emergency crews found the bodies of McPherson, 43; his wife, Debbie, 43; and daughters Danielle, 19, and Kayla, 13.

In South Carolina, a family of four died when their plane crashed Friday into the Stono River, the coroner said.

Dr. Ray Armistead, 58, was piloting his Cessna 340A when it went down Friday as it circled back for a second attempt to land at the Johns Island Executive Airport southwest of downtown Charleston, authorities said.

There was light rain and 15 mph winds at the time, the National Weather Service said.

The plane was brought to the surface Saturday after workers raised it from 20 feet of water.

Armistead's wife, Patricia, 54, and their daughters, Lauren, 27, and Kristin, 25, were also killed, Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten said Saturday. The family lived in New Bern, N.C.

The NTSB was investigating both crashes.

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