Aviation accidents don’t always occur near major airports. Oftentimes, smaller aircraft land and take off at private fields in Florida. These are unregulated taxiways but can be just as dangerous as a regular airfield.
Seventy-eight year-old Dauphin Richard Womack and his wife, Merry, also 78, were experienced airplane pilots. Dauphin was a flight engineer and certified flight instructor. The couple flew their 1961 Beechcraft 35 Bonanza three or four times a week, sometimes just to head to dinner somewhere along the Florida coast.
August 11 was like any other day for them. The couple lived at Love’s Landing Aviation Community, a private aviation community in rural Marion County. The community had a private airfield for residents. Dauphin and Merry had planned to fly to Orlando and pick up their 15-year-old grandson from his friend’s house. They never made it. The couple’s plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
Nobody saw the crash occur, but around 9:33 a.m. calls came in to the 911 dispatch center. A couple had heard the explosions. They had rushed out to investigate and had seen the plane on fire. Another neighbor ran out with a fire extinguisher and tried to put the fire out. The high-intensity of burning jet fuel made that impossible.
Soon fire and emergency personnel arrived. The fire was quickly extinguished, and it was quickly determined that the couple had not survived. The debris field was small and only a wing separated from the plane.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were dispatched to the scene and will investigate the crash. Representatives for the plane’s manufacturer and the plane’s engine were also expected at the scene. At this point, all signs point toward some sort of a mechanical failure.
The Womacks had retired to the Love’s Landing Aviation Community. Richard served in the U.S. Air Force and had retired as FedEx pilot. They had four kids – two boys and two girls. Their death sent shock waves through the close-night aviation community. They could not believe that such an experienced pilot could crash a plane.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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