PC-12 Wreckage Suggests In-Flight Breakup

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Six people were killed in the crash of a 2006 Pilatus PC-12/47 that appears to have broken up in flight some 50 miles southwest of Orlando, Thursday. The crash took place at about 12:30 p.m. and early reports state that parts of the aircraft have been recovered more than two miles from the main wreckage. The aircraft was carrying four children ages 8, 11, 13, and 15, along with their two parents, flying at 25,000 feet en route from the Bahamas to Junction City, Kan. Five family members were found with in the aircraft. Friday, the body of one of the children was found nearly half a mile away. Witnesses say they saw the airplane tumbling out of the sky.

Weather in the area at the time of the crash included showers. The aircraft had stopped at St. Lucie to clear customs and departed there about half an hour before the problems developed. A pilot flying nearby told investigators he heard the accident aircraft issue a mayday, but nothing specific about the nature of the emergency. The aircraft's emergency beacon activated shortly thereafter and the aircraft was found in a rural field. Six feet of the aircraft's right wing along with portions of the left wing and the horizontal stabilizer were found away from the fuselage. Florida newspaper The Ledger reported Friday that one witness told NTSB investigators that he "heard a plane overhead, which then made some strange crunching or grating noises and then went dead."