Officials Piece Together Plane Crash That Killed Wilson Couple
Posted October 23, 2006 9:19 a.m. EDT
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — A day-trip to the North Carolina coast ended tragically for a Wilson couple Sunday afternoon when their single-engine plane crashed in Rocky Mount, authorities said.
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Authorities on Monday identified those killed in the crash as Jenny and Thomas Lyndon, both 42, of Canal Street in Wilson. Jenny Lyndon worked for the Wilson Daily Times; her husband co-owned a heating-and-air-conditioning company.
Thomas Lyndon was piloting the single-engine Cessna when it crashed at around 4 p.m. Sunday at the CSX rail yard at Ward and South Church streets, just south of downtown Rocky Mount.
The National Transportation Safety Board and federal aviation officials are looking for the cause of the crash. It is not yet known whether Sunday's rainy weather was a factor.
Investigators are looking into the plane's maintenance history, radar information at the time of the crash and the pilot's experience.
Although the investigation is in its early stages, NTSB officials said there was no indication that the plane was prepared to land. They said the left wing hit the ground first, sending the plane cartwheeling down the tracks before it burst into flames.
Witnesses told police they saw flames shooting 25 feet into the air. Investigators said the plane is badly burned, so it may take them longer than usual to determine what happened.
Thomas Lyndon loved flying, his youngest brother, Michael Lyndon, said.
"He's been flying for two years. He just always enjoyed it," Michael Lyndon said. "He was a great person, would do anything for anybody. He helped me out more than anybody I know, and I never had to ask."
Family members said the Lyndons were returning from a trip to Beaufort when the plane crashed. Officials at the Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport said the plane made two unsuccessful attempts to land at the airport and that the airport lost contact with the plane after the second try.
"We did drive over to Rocky Mount to the site, but we couldn't see anything," Michael Lyndon said. "All we knew was it was the plane and there were no survivors."
The rail line where the plane crashed reopened Monday.