• Jacksonville student dies after plane crashes near Tallahassee


    MADISON COUNTY, Fla. - A Jacksonville student was killed when the plane her cousin was flying crashed in a woody area near Tallahassee Thursday evening. 

    Maitand Harvey and James Swiggart were killed instantly when the plane crashed, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s office.

    Harvey, 18, was a student and Alpha Chi Omega at the University of North Florida. She was described as a positive person with a joyful outlook in a Facebook post by the sorority.

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    The plane, an experimental RV-4 model, was flying from Ocala to Tallahassee when it lost contact with air traffic control just after 7:30 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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    Because of the terrain, crews weren’t able to reach the crash site until 9 a.m. Friday morning.

    "Once the helicopter located it, it took us a while to get in there to it,” said Sheriff Benjamin Stewart. “It would've been impossible to find it at night.”

    The private aircraft was found in the Sermons community off Southwest Moseley Hall Road in southern Madison County, which is about 15 miles from Madison.

    Area resident Lorinzo Blue is one of several people who said they believe they may have heard a noise related to the crash.

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    He saw the helicopter that spotted the plane Friday morning.

    "There was a helicopter that had some kind of looking or listening device underneath it,” he said. “It circled my home about four times, but it was fanning out each time as though it had some kind of a pattern."

    He said Swiggart, 32, was a U.S. Navy pilot out of Mississippi.

    The National Transportation Safety Board will inspect the wreckage and conduct a full investigation into the cause of the crash.

    Both victims have been taken to the medical examiner's office in Tallahassee.

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