Pilot Dies in Sandy Creek Fatal Plane Crash

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SANDY CREEK - Several agencies are investigating a plane crash that happened near the Sandy Creek Airpark early Wednesday morning. Investigators say Destin business owner, Larry Eli Caison, was on his way to the Destin-Fort Walton beach airport.

Bay County Sheriff's investigators say they received a call from Tyndall Air Force Base around 7:20 am, reporting a plane crash near Sandy Creek.

The plane was a Raytheon G-36 single engine aircraft registered to Grey Aviation, in Destin.

Federal Aviation Administration officials say the pilot, 52 year old Larry Eli Caison, was flying the beech bonanza from the North Palm Beach County airport to the Destin-Fort Walton Beach airport.

However, the plane lost engine power. Caison apparently tried to make the small landing strip at Sandy Creek, but fell a mile short of the airpark's runway.

Investigators say it took them nearly an hour to find the crash site because of the heavily wooded area. Forestry division officials had to come in and clear a path in order to find the plane.

"It was very difficult. We had coordinates from the first plane from Tyndall, but the terrain was so thick, we couldn't even see within even 3 to 4 feet in front of us," said Capt. Ricky Ramie with the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

Tyndall and the Sheriffs Office sent helicopters so that investigators could find the crash site.

"So actually our helicopter was able to hover right over the top of the crash and that's how they were able to make it in on foot," said Capt. Ramie.

When deputies found the plane, Caison was dead. Caison was the president of Grey Aviation Advisors and Solutions out of Destin.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will be handling a majority of the investigation.

Caison was a retired air force special operations pilot, as is his partner. NewsChannel 7 is told the company carries out some special missions including surveillance and reconnaissance work, as well as train private citizens to fly.

Sandy Creek is a popular privately owned air strip. It had been the scene of several fatal air crashes in recent years.

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