Dense fog likely to blame for twin-engine plane crash at Bartow airport

Dense fog is a likely contributing factor to a deadly plane crash Sunday, Dec. 24, at Bartow airport. Authorities report four people were killed.

BARTOW, Fla. – Investigators likely will consider dense fog as a contributing factor in a Christmas Eve plane crash that killed five people at Polk County's Bartow Municipal Airport.

The twin-engine plane went down just after takeoff around 7:15 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 24, Sheriff Grady Judd said, with emergency operators receiving a call minutes later. 

Authorities Sunday afternoon identified the victims as Lakeland lawyer John Shannon, his two daughters, a son-in-law and a family friend.

The NTSB tweeted the plane is a Cessna 340.

Around the time of the crash, a National Weather Service observation reported visibility at the Bartow airport to be less than a quarter-mile because of fog. An emotional Judd said he was able to review video footage of the crash.

"There was no chance of survival," Judd said. "When you look at the crash, the only thing that you say is nobody suffered."

Despite fog as a potential factor for the crash, federal officials with the FAA and NTSB are tasked to investigate the exact cause.

Judd told reporters he personally knew of Shannon. Polk County fire dispatch confirmed four people were killed, but that number later was revised to five.

"Our heart breaks. You know, certainly, we wish we could rewind this and if we could, I would wrestle him to the floor to keep him from getting into this airplane this morning," Judd said.

Photos: 5 people killed in twin-engine plane crash at Bartow airport

The plane crashed just north of the airport toward the end of a runway near Ben Durrance Road. It left the hangar around 6:30 a.m. and took off east into the heavy fog, Judd said.

Watch: 5 people reported dead in plane crash at Polk County's Bartow airport

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