Two pilots killed in Pasco and Hernando crashes - FOX 13 News

Two pilots killed in Pasco and Hernando crashes

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Two pilots were killed in separate crashes Sunday, with both just 12 miles and three hours apart.

The pilots were flying ultralight planes.

The first happened near Highway 41 in Pasco County near the Pilot Country Airport. William George Athey of Odessa was killed when he crashed into some powerlines near the airport.

"A few minutes later I heard two loud bangs," nearby resident Dan Ludwick recalled. "I told a friend of mine that it was a backfire or I hope to God he didn't hit the power lines."

Investigators aren't exactly sure how it happened, but some neighbors suspect inexperience led to the accident.

For a few hours Athey's body and his aircraft were stuck on the power lines above the roadway.

Emergency service crews had to shut down traffic on US 41 near State Road 52 and turn off power in the area to retrieve the remains.

Ludwick believes inexperience may have led to the fatal crash.

"He [Athey] had previous training in the past week but this was his first solo flight," he explained.

In Hernando County, a man was killed when his plane spiraled to the ground and burst into flames outside the Hernando County Airport. Witnesses said the ultralight took off from the north end of the airport, and then stalled and crashed.

The pilot was identified as 50-year-old Christopher Washington of Spring Hill.

The official causes of both crashes are being investigated Monday.

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