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Father and son perish in plane crash
Spotsylvania plane crash victims identified

 The investigation into Saturday's plane crash near Shannon Airport in Spotsylvania is continuing.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 10/1/2012

BY JONAS BEALS

Stafford County residents John Morton Jr., 48, and his son, Kyle Morton, 13, died in a Saturday plane crash near Shannon Airport in Spotsylvania County.

They were the only people onboard the single-engine Cessna 150M plane that nose-dived into the trees at the end of Carrie Court in the River Heights mobile home park. No one on the ground was injured, and no homes were damaged.

The plane crashed about 5:10 p.m. Saturday, shortly after takeoff from Shannon. Eyewitnesses in River Heights reported seeing the plane climb sharply before tipping over and crashing nose-first into the ground, narrowly avoiding a house and a van parked at the end of Carrie Court.

On Sunday, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident along with the state police, and the cause of the crash has not been determined.

"Weather had nothing to do with it. Fuel had nothing to do with it," said Shannon Airport Operations Manager Robert Stanley. "But something happened."

Stanley, who sells fuel at the airport, said that while Morton did not own the plane, he had a deal with the owner to use it on occasion.

"He was an experienced pilot," Stanley said.

The weather at the time of the crash was perfect for flying--70 degrees, calm winds, 10 miles visibility and a ceiling of 12,000 feet.

River Heights resident Kimberly Chew was driving on Tidewater Trail when she saw Morton's plane taking off.

"It was going up pretty steep, steeper than normal, anyway," she said. "Then it looked like he was turning to come back to the airport. I think he just turned too sharp and lost control of it."

State police reported that John Morton had been working on the plane prior to the crash. The police also said Morton had been practicing takeoffs and landings. Stanley disputed that notion, saying the crash came on Morton's first takeoff of the day.

Stanley said onlookers and River Heights residents may have been confused; there are several Cessnas at Shannon that look nearly identical to the one Morton was flying.


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