Update: Victims of Horrific Florida Plane Crash That Left Five Dead Identified

By Janita Kan, Epoch Times

A prominent Florida lawyer and his family were among the dead in a plane crash, which killed five people in Bartow, Florida, on Sunday, Dec. 24.

John Shannon, a 70-year-old attorney from Lakeland, Florida had his perfect Christmas Eve with family and friends all planned out—an early flight on Sunday morning, then breakfast and lunch, before heading home to prepare for the holiday, reported Tampa Bay Times.

On Sunday morning, Shannon was in the cockpit of his twin-engined Cessna 340 ready to fly from Polk County to Key West. Accompanying him were his daughters, 24-year-old Olivia Shannon and 26-year-old Victoria Shannon Worthington, Victoria’s husband, Peter Worthington Jr., 27, and family friend Krista Clayton, 32.

The 70-year-old accelerated down the runway about 7:15 a.m but a short time after taking off the plane plunged back down to the ground and caught fire, according to authorities. Everyone on board died on impact.

“There was no chance of survival—ever,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters, reported Daily News. “The crash is so horrific that no one suffered.”

Authorities are not immediately certain what caused the plane to crash, however they suspect the heavy fog had played a role. A sheriff’s pilot in a nearby hangar told Tampa Bay Times the conditions on the day were not suitable for flying.

An airport authority who filmed part of the crash told authorities that he couldn’t believe “that they were taking off in this fog,” reported the newspaper.

According to his website, Shannon has been practicing law since 1975 and handles serious injury, death, and insurance claims. He was also the president of the Republican Club of Lakeland and of the local Kiwanis Club. He also unsuccessfully ran for the state House of Representatives, reported Tampa Bay Times.

“I’m just stunned, I think like everybody else,” Ben Hardin, a close friend, told the newspaper. “John was as fine and caring of a person as you would ever meet.”

His eldest daughter, Victoria, was a teacher in Baltimore, according to Judd. His youngest daughter, Olivia, was a student at Southeastern University in Lakeland.

Shannon’s son-in-law, Peter Worthington Jr., was a law student at University of Maryland School of Law, according to his Facebook page. Krista Clayton, the family friend, was a teacher at Jewett Academy in Winter Haven, reported the newspaper citing the sheriff. She had two children.

Shannon was described as a loving father who was a “mother and father to his girls.”

“His real love was his girls,” friend and former state Rep. Neil Combee told the newspaper. “He was mother and father to his girls.”

“He would want to be remembered as a good father,” Hardin said. “That was his life.”

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