5 people confirmed dead in Florida plane crash

Five deaths were reported following a plane crash in Polk County Florida on Sunday morning, December 24, 2017. (Photo: Polk County Sheriff's Office)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WPEC) — Five people have been confirmed dead after a twin-engine plane crashed in Polk County Florida early Sunday morning, according to local authorities.

The Cessna 340 plane crashed near the end of a runway at Durrance Rd. on Bartow Airbase at approximately 7:15 a.m.

The individuals who died during the crash were identified by the Polk County Sheriff's Office as the pilot, John Shannon 70, his daughters Olivia Shannon, 24, and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 27, as well as Victoria's husband Peter Worthington Jr., 27, and family friend Krysta Clayton, 32.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. "This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve. We are providing all of our resources to assist them with anything they need to help them get through this horrific tragedy."

The sheriff's office said it cannot say for certain why the plane crashed, but at the time of takeoff, it was foggy outside. A pilot with the PCSO reported that the conditions on Sunday morning were "not conducive to taking off."

Judd told reporters earlier in the day that "all indications point to the plane was in the air and then crashed ... If you could see the crash site you would know no one suffered."

The sheriff's office later confirmed that all of the victims "perished upon impact or immediately after impact."

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the cause of the crash. Local authorities will investigate the deaths of the pilot and passengers.

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