Officials have tentatively identified victims of a fatal plane crash that occurred Saturday afternoon while the investigation into what caused the crash continues.
David B. Muchler, 58, of Raleigh, N.C., and Robert “Bob” Redfern, 90, who recently moved to Manatee County from Melbourne, were tentatively identified as the victims of the crash, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Muchler and Redfern’s bodies were recovered from the wreckage Saturday.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, and officials visited the site, a spokesperson from the NTSB confirmed.
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“At this point, we’re still in the fact gathering stage,” said Terry Williams, NTSB spokesman for the Manatee County crash.
It will take about a year to determine the cause, but a preliminary report on the incident should be available in the next couple of weeks, Williams said.
The small twin-engine plane crashed in a wooded area just north of State Road 62 near State Road 37. The plane, registered out of California, took off from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport around 1 p.m. Saturday, but the pilot did not file a flight plan.
The Hawker Beachcraft BE-60 plane was engulfed in flames when it crashed, killing the pilot and a passenger and destroying the plane, according to the sheriff’s office.
A witness told the Bradenton Herald there “was nothing left” of the plane when he got to the crash site.
A wildfire caused by the fiery crash burned about 30 acres of land in about 5 hours and shut down State Road 37 while crews worked to contain the blaze.