Florida plane crash in dense fog kills five on Christmas Eve

Victoria and her husband Peter Worthington both died in the crash. The couple had just arrived in town on Saturday for the holidays from Baltimore where they live

In a separate statement, the sheriff's office said the plane was heading east into heavy fog when it took off from the airport.

Investigators said the twin-engine Cessna 340 took off from Bartow Airbase, near Tampa, about 7.15am (8.15pm) bound for Key West, but it went down near the end of the Bartow runway.

Family friend Krista Clayton, 32, was a teacher in Lakeland and a mother of two, Judd said.

The plane reportedly caught fire after it crashed.

Also killed on Sunday were two of Shannon's daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, as well as Worthington's husband, Peter Worthington, 27. Local reports said Polk County Fire Rescue is also on the scene.

County Sheriff, Grady Judd Polk said, "One of our helicopter pilots was in the hangar, heard the plane starting to take off, and thought to himself my gosh, I can't believe someone is trying to take off in this weather". This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve.

"Ironically, about an hour later the fog lifted and it's a lovely Florida day", Sheriff Judd said. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash.

More news: Dreaming of a white Christmas? No need, it's a reality

The 70-year-old pilot was a prominent lawyer in Lakeland.

Victoria Shannon and Peter Worthington were married in June at Baltimore's George Peabody Library, according to a wedding announcement.

John Shannon, who graduated in 1975 from Samford University school of law in Homewood, Ala., had been a member of the Florida Bar since 1975, according to state records. Shannon was also active in the community in Kiwanis, as the president of the Republican Club of Lakeland and as a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Sheriff Judd was friends with Shannon and said, "John Shannon has always been a great advocate, a great attorney". "The conditions were not conducive for taking off this morning", the sheriff said.

Shannon was making a 45- to 60-minute flight for day trip to the Florida Keys, the sheriff said.

After the war, the complex functioned as a "flight school training cadets for military service" before it was turned over to the city of Bartow, the website says.

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