Two Florida Couples Killed in Va. Plane Crash

Oct. 12--Four people from South Florida have been identified as the occupants of a small plane that left Fort Lauderdale on Thursday and vanished over a massive swampy area in Virginia.

Virginia State Police identified the four as pilot Theodore Bradshaw, 61, and Mary Anne Bradshaw, 48, both of Cooper City, and Charles Rodd, 64, and Diane Rodd, 58, of Palm Beach, according to Lt. Curtis Hardison.

They were flying to attend a wedding, WTKR of Norfolk reported.

A wreckage of a small plane was discovered late Friday in an extremely remote section of the swamp, but rescue workers had not confirmed it was the missing plane.

The missing Cessna 340A craft was sold less than three weeks ago in Florida with an engine that had less than 20 hours of flight, the plane's listed owners from Wisconsin said Friday.

The buyer was identified as Theodore Bradshaw, a licensed commercial and multi-engine pilot. At Bradshaw's Cooper City home, a visibly shaken man said he was the pilot's brother.

"We have a lot of questions ourselves, and we don't feel like it would be right to talk about this at this time," the man said.

The six-seater Cessna took off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport shortly after 7:30 a.m. Thursday and was to have landed at Hampton Roads Executive Airport about noon, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. Crews in Virginia battled harsh weather most of Friday while searching for the aircraft, which disappeared as it flew over the expansive Great Dismal Swamp.

At about 4 p.m. Friday, a private helicopter pilot who volunteered to assist with the search spotted a small plane wrecked below and notified authorities, said Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for Virginia State Police. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen couldn't be reached for comment.

Numerous agencies were involved in Friday's search through the swamp. A national refuge area in the swamp is about 100,000 acres.

An earlier search for the plane was called off Thursday night because of bad weather. State police air units still were grounded Friday.

By Friday morning, dozens of rescue workers were using boats, dive teams and dogs to aid in the search. Menacing clouds had prevented searchers from using aircraft, Geller said.

Geller said the plane stopped sending signals over the swampland area. Officials have been in contact with family members, she said.

ijrodriguez@tribune.com, 954-356-4605 or @GeoRodriguez on Twitter and Instagram

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