FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — FOX8 has learned more about the last moments of the flight of a Beechcraft A36 which crashed in Forsyth County on Monday.
The three people in the plane all died, officials say. They are now identified as Michael and Christy Apfelbaum, and Christy’s father, Clarence Imgrund; all of Pennsylvania.
The family had been flying from Sarasota, Florida to Piedmont Triad International Airport. PTI Executive Director Kevin Baker said the pilot tried to make contact with the tower at PTI just minutes before the crash.
Meanwhile, witnesses watched from the ground as the plane began to lose control.
“I noticed the airplane was flying rather low, and the wings were kind of going left and right,” said Beverly Sells, who was driving when she noticed the aircraft. “I actually thought that maybe they were performing some kind of stunt practice. But, then I thought, they’re flying awful low to be doing those kinds of stunts.”
Sells says the aircraft then began to spin, which resulted in a further loss of altitude.
“When I saw it twirling nose first, down, I realized then that it wasn’t a stunt. It was crashing. It was real life,” Sells said.
It was only moments later when the plane went down, in the vicinity of N.C. 66 and U.S. 311, in or near the Vulcan Materials East Forsyth Quarry.
“I could not see the actual impact because it went behind the trees, but I did hear the loud boom,” Sells said.
Officials say the plane burst into flames on impact.
“Just to know that they probably were living in some very horrid last moments of their life, seeing their plane go down and them in it. It was very, very sad,” Sells said.
The NTSB was at the crash site on Tuesday. Their preliminary report is expected to come out next week.
Air Traffic Control audio