Deputies from Bay, Calhoun, and Jackson Counties arrived on-scene just north of Fountain after a 9-1-1 call from a family member nearby and heard the crash. He was actually a Jackson County first responder who pulled his brother from the burning plane. However, he wasn't able to save them all.
Bay County Sheriff's Deputies say the plane took off from a small airstrip off Highway 167 less than a mile from where it crashed just before 9:30 Sunday morning.
"It came very close just right on the edge line of the power lines," said Major Tommy Ford of the Bay County Sheriff's Office. He goes on, "The location of the crash is directly parallel to that airstrip."
The pilot of the aircraft, Patrick Schultz, was flying his mother, Kathleen Schultz, his aunt, Nancy Moore, and his nephew 14 year old Nicholas Hoang, when the aircraft went down.
Kathleen Shultz, Moore, and Hoang lost their lives. Patrick Shultz survived, thanks to his brother on the ground.
Deputies say Shultz' brother is a Jackson County first responder. He was on the runway when the plane crashed and dragged his brother out from the wreckage. EMS drove him to a nearby burn center.
Ford said, "The pilot was transported from the scene initially survived the crash, but we are still waiting on word on that obviously extremely critical."
A few hours later, after the smoke subsided, the three bodies were removed from the aircraft.
"The biggest challenges were reaching the site. there were several areas that became un-passable, even for one of our Humvee. so we had a challenge reaching that site," said Ford.
Both NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are now working to remove the Cherokee plane from the trees, before declaring an exact cause of the crash.
Officials say because of the plane's location, it could take a few days to remove.
The Medical Examiner's Office is now examining the victim's bodies.