Brooks Co. plane crash kills two -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Brooks Co. plane crash kills two

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

PAVO, GA (WALB) -  A plane went down in some woods in northwest Brooks County killing pilot Robert F. Moreland  and passenger Michael Villanueva.

The wreckage was found at 12:30 Friday afternoon by the Georgia State Patrol Aviation Unit.

They picked up the signal from the plane's Emergency Locator Transmitter and found the wreckage in thick woods south of Pavo.

Authorities aren't sure what caused the crash, but say bad weather could have played a role.

Brooks County authorities found out on Thursday around midnight, a Socata airplane crashed into the woods in Pavo.  "We're not really a normal flight pattern that we are aware of we don't see a lot of planes coming over our area," said Peggy Kimble of the Brooks County Sheriff's Office.

Brooks and Thomas County authorities searched and finally found the wreckage about 12:30 p.m.

"They're making their way back to the crash site through the woods to the crash site to determine what condition the victim or victims are in. We're unaware at this time how many victims were in the plane," Kimble said.

The Civil Air Patrol helped with the search and told us that two people were killed. Their bodies will be sent to the state crime lab in Atlanta.

The pilot and a passenger were flying from Montgomery, Alabama to Perry, Florida when they came across some bad weather and crashed in Pavo.

The crash site was deep in the woods between Tindall and Beatty roads. Authorities would not allow WALB on the crash site. Kimble says it's been awhile since the people in this area have seen a serious plane crash.

Authorities are still investigating to find out what exactly happened.

  • Here is a press release from the Seminole Nation-

The Seminole Tribe of Florida and Seminole Gaming are deeply saddened to announce the passing of two key executives of the organization in the crash of a private plane near Pavo, Ga., just before noon on Thursday, August 27, 2009.  A search coordinated by the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and involving the Brooks County (Georgia) Sheriff's Office resulted in identification of wreckage from the plane about midday today.

The two individuals on board were pilot Robert F. Moreland, Miramar, DOB 7/18/47, Vice President of Information Technology Operations, and passenger Michael Villanueva, Boca Raton, DOB: 1/30/65, Director of Facility Coordination.  Bob and Mike were on a flight from Montgomery, Ala., to North Perry Airport in Hollywood, Fla., following a meeting with a business vendor in Montgomery. 

They departed Montgomery Regional Airport about 10 a.m. Thursday, after fueling the airplane.  They were scheduled to arrive in Hollywood about 2 p.m.  Owned by Moreland, the plane is a single-engine Trinidad TB-20 manufactured in 2004 in France by SOCATA and is current on all required maintenance. 

"These two individuals have made huge contributions to Seminole Gaming and our hearts go out to their families," said James Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming.  "Along with his IT team members, Bob created the information technology network for Seminole Gaming. 

Mike played a huge role in the design and construction of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, as well as with the expansions of our casinos in Tampa, Coconut Creek and Immokalee.  They were among the first employees hired by Seminole Gaming, and they will both be sorely missed."

"Much of the success of the Seminole Tribe is due to the hard work of Bob Moreland and Mike Villanueva," said Seminole Tribe Chairman Mitchell Cypress.  "On behalf of all the Seminoles, I want to acknowledge everything they've done and to extend our deepest sympathies to their family and friends."

Seminole Gaming has reached out to family members and is providing grief counselors for employees. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is undertaking the accident investigation.

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