• 'We heard them as they were going down,' couple said after fatal plane crash

    By: Larry Spruill , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    After hearing of the deadly plane crash in the Great Smoky Mountains, a Tennessee couple that heard the crash is speaking out.

    Authorities said they found the wreckage Tuesday.

    “When I first heard the motor, it freaked me out,"  said Victoria Kay, who heard the plane before it crashed.  "It didn’t sound like a helicopter. It sounded like a small engine aircraft."

    Little did Kay know at the time, the small aircraft was the same one that David Starling, his 8-year-old son Hunter Starling and his girlfriend Kim Smith were in.

    The plane left Lawtey in Bradford County Monday and later lost all communication near Tennessee. Kay and her boyfriend Sam Rue were hiking the Great Smoky Mountains when they first saw the plane.

    “In the distance, I said, 'Look, that might be a fire out there.' Because there were so many different clouds, I thought maybe it was just fog. I didn’t see black smoke, but some white smoke,” Rue said.

    On Wednesday, Action News Jax spoke exclusively to the couple who recorded a video of the area where they last saw the plane.

    “It was strange to hear an aircraft and the timing. It just seems like we heard them as they were going down,” Kay said. Crews searched and found the plane's for the wreckage with no survivors. 

    Action News Jax learned Wednesday that David Starling didn’t have the proper license to make the low-visibility flight he was attempting,

    “The clouds were really rolling in and it was blowing hard," Kay said. "If they were trying to clear that and then try to get over those mountains, they were going to have a hard time."

    The couple said they contacted Action News Jax to reach Hunter’s mother so they could answer any questions she may have. They hoped to provide some closure.

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