Plane with 4 aboard crash lands in Putnam field

CRESCENT CITY, Fla. – A twin-engine plane crashed Tuesday morning near a private airstrip in southern Putnam County. The four people aboard sustained only minor injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office responded the crash about 9:40 a.m. on private property off County Road 308, west of Jonas Road. They found the crashed plane upright past the runway.

The two men and two women aboard were taken to Putnam Community Medical Center. One of the women is pregnant.

The extent of the injuries appears to be minor lacerations.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the twin-engine plane, a 1958 Aero Commander 680E, was taking off from the Jim Finley Farm Airstrip, a grass landing strip three miles outside of Crescent City. The plane was about 50 feet off the ground when the engine stalled, causing the plane to lose altitude, strike an oak tree at the end of the runway and crash into the ground.

One of those on board called 911.

The pilot, 67-year-old Frits Abbing, from Sweden, owns the property where the plane crashed and vacations there. The FHP identified the other occupants of the plane as Ralph Abbing, 28, Corry Simmons, 63 and Irene Geerlings, 28 -- all identified as being out of country.

"The two female passengers were up and walking around. The males sustained the most injuries after coming in contact with the trees," FHP Trooper Richard Conover said. "It could have been a lot worse."

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified and the FHP is conducting the local investigation.