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Two Indiana couples killed in plane crash off Florida coast

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two couples from Indiana were killed Wednesday night in a plane crash off the coast of Venice, Florida, Venice police say.

Witnesses called 911 around 9:38 p.m. from the Venice pier, stating that a plane had crashed shortly after takeoff from the Venice airport.

Rescue teams searched the water for a Piper PA-32R-300 single engine aircraft and its four passengers.

On Wednesday night, Searchers found a debris field a half mile from the Venice airport and found two dead males in the water. Searching was suspended due to darkness.

Authorities continued searching Thursday morning and located the aircraft and two more dead people.

The deceased were identified by Venice Police Department as William Lumpkin, 64, and and his wife, Patricia Lumpkin, 68, of Fishers; and Ricky Beaver, 60, and his wife, Elizabethe Beaver, 57, of Noblesville.

The couples had traveled to the Venice area from St. Petersburg, Florida, according to police. They were returning from dinner to St. Petersburg when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff, Venice police say.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. No cause has been determined.

News release


“The deceased males recovered Wednesday night following the plane crash ½ mile west of the Venice Fishing Pier have been identified as pilot William Jeffrey Lumpkin, 64, of Fishers, Ind., and passenger Ricky Joe Beaver, 60, of Noblesville, Ind. A debris field was also located Wednesday night. Rescue teams did not locate the plane or any other passengers last night. Divers were unable to be deployed until Thursday morning.

“At 11:56 a.m. Thursday, divers located the main portion of the aircraft, a single-engine Piper PA-32R, as well as the bodies of two females believed to be the males’ spouses – Patricia Ann Lumpkin, 68, also of Fishers, and Elizabethe Anne Beaver, 57, of Noblesville. The wreckage is at a depth of approximately 23 feet.

“As far as a timeline of events, the airplane left an airport in St. Petersburg last night and flew to Venice Airport, arriving around 5 p.m. The occupants met with friends and had dinner at Sharky’s On the Pier restaurant. They left Venice Airport at approximately 9:35 p.m. and crashed into the Gulf soon after takeoff. They were intending on returning to St. Pete via Albert Whitted Airport.

“VPD has been in contact with the victims’ families and our hearts certainly go out to them.”

Venice Police Department on Facebook