Victims Identified in Fatal Madison County Plane Crash

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By: Lanetra Bennett
December 18, 2015

MADISON COUNTY, Fla. -- Two people are dead after a plane crash. It's the second in our area in just two months.

The Madison County sheriff says 32-year-old James Swiggart and 18-year-old Maitand Harvey died in the crash. They were cousins, according to Sheriff Benjamin Stewart.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the RV-4 experimental plane was flying from Ocala to Tallahassee. Officials say the plane lost contact with air traffic control just after 7:30 Thursday night in southwest Madison County.

Sheriff Stewart says it took crews a long time to pinpoint the plane's location and to reach the crash site. "This is a very heavily wooded area. It took us a while to even reach the crash. Once the helicopter located it, it took us a while to get in there to it. So, it would've been impossible to find it at night. That's all it is to it." He said.

Sheriff Stewart says the private aircraft was found around 9:00 Friday morning.

It was in the Sermons community off Southwest Moseley Hall Road in southern Madison County, which is about 15 miles from Madison.

Area resident Lorinzo Blue is one of several people who say they believe they may have heard a noise related to the crash.

He saw the helicopter that spotted the plane Friday morning. Blue said, "I can see that there was a helicopter that had some kind of looking or listening device underneath it. It circled my home about four times, but it was fanning out each time as though it had some kind of a pattern."

Sheriff Stewart says both passengers died immediately.

He says Swiggart was a navy pilot out of Mississippi, although he was flying a private plane during the time of the crash.

The bodies were removed from the crash site about 3 Friday afternoon. The National Transportation Safety Board will inspect the wreckage and conduct a full investigation into the cause of the crash.

Both victims have been taken to the medical examiner's office in Tallahassee.

By: Lanetra Bennett
December 18, 2015

MADISON COUNTY, Fla. -- The Madison County Sheriff's Office has released the names of the two people killed in a small plane crash in Madison County.

The pilot was 32-year-old James Swiggart of Meridian, Mississippi. He was a Navy pilot who was flying his private Vans RV-4 plane.

The female passenger was 18-year-old Maitland Harvey of Ocoee, Florida.

The Sheriff says the two were cousins.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
December 18, 2015

MADISON COUNTY, Fla. -- The Federal Aviation Administration says that the wreckage of a small aircraft has been found.

According to the FAA, the Vans RV-4 aircraft that was reported missing on Thursday evening was found in Madison County around 11 a.m. Friday.

The aircraft went missing around 8 p.m. Thursday while en route to the Tallahassee International Airport from the Ocala International Airport.

Officials say the two people on board the plane, a man and a woman, did not survive.

The FAA will investigate and the NTSB will determine the probable cause of the accident.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
December 17, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that a small plane bound for Tallahassee has been reported missing.

The FAA has alerted local authorities about an RV-4 aircraft that went missing around 8 p.m. Thursday.

The small plane was inbound to Tallahassee International Airport when air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight. indicates that the plane may have lost contact over Madison County and authorities have initiated a search near Greenville. The flight tracking service also shows that the flight originated in Central Florida.

Officials believe that weather and visibility may be a factor as to why the plane is missing.

We have no word on the number of people on board.

RV-4 aircraft can typically hold up to 2 people.

No further information is available at this time.

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