EATONTON, Ga. – A small plane crashed Friday in rural Georgia, killing all five on board, including four members of a Florida family who were traveling to a funeral in Indiana.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills told local news outlets no one survived the afternoon crash about 100 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Sills identified the victims as Larry Ray Pruitt, 67, of Morriston, Florida; Shawn Charles Lamont, 41, of Gainesville, Florida; his wife Jody Rae Lamont, 43; and their two children, 6-year-old Jayce and 4-year-old Alice.
Shawn Lamont was a new member of the Williston Chamber of Commerce. In a statement, the chamber’s executive director said: "He was excited to become more active in the community and was planning to host a mixer at his business before the pandemic. He supported us and Williston in our community efforts.”
Jody Lamont was acting clinical supervisor of Alachua County Court Services. She is being remember as an excellent clinician, who had a bright future. The Alachua County Chair said: “Jody devoted her life to helping those in need find their way back to leading healthy and productive lives. Her loss weighs heavily on all those who worked with her, knew her and loved her.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said the Piper PA31-T was flying from Williston, Florida, to Newcastle, Indiana.
Tracy Carter, a Milledgeville resident, told The Union-Recorder he saw a plane circling the area and catch fire. Parts of the plane flew off and landed in the nearby field and he said he heard a loud boom.
Emergency crews responded, putting out flames in a wooded area.
This photo of the crash provided by the Putnam County Georgia Sheriff’s Office.
News4Jax aviation analyst Ed Booth noted that it was a twin engine propeller plane.
“It seems to me the pilot was on flight plan of 23,000 feet, traveling at 300 miles-per-hour, when he was going in-between thunderstorm cells. For reasons hard to explain, the airplane abruptly turns right and descends at over 6,000 feet a minute momentarily and then pulls up, going uphill at 2,000 feet a minute and then disappears,” Booth said. “Something upset the airplane and entered them into a descent.”
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash. It’s unclear if weather was a factor, but according to the Exact Track Radar at 3:13 p.m. Friday, the time the plane crashed in the Eatonton area, rain was in the vicinity -- storms were along I-75.