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Mon, Apr 17, 2006

Three Lost When Beech Impacts Gainesville, FL Airport Terminal

Commercial Flights Resume At GNV

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 04.17.06 1545EST: The commercial terminal at Gainesville Regional Airport reopened for business Monday afternoon, after being evacuated 24 hours before following a plane crash that claimed the lives of three people onboard.

The Gainesville Sun reports the first incoming flight, from South Florida, was scheduled to arrive at 12:30 pm Monday. Temporary repairs to the terminal -- including removal of water, debris, and soot -- are expected to be completed by Tuesday.

The NTSB has arrived on the scene to investigate the accident.

Original Report

The commercial terminal at Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) remained closed Monday morning while authorities investigate the damage caused by a Beechcraft Duke that went down shortly before noon Sunday at the airport. The aircraft impacted a parked car, sending the vehicle through a wall at the passenger terminal and resulting in a fire that forced the evacuation of approximately 150 people from the terminal.

The three people onboard the Duke perished in the accident, but no one on the ground was injured. Officials have not released the names of those onboard the aircraft, but family members told The Gainesville Sun pilot Giuseppe Basile, Steve Varosi, and Varosi's 12-year-old nephew Michael were onboard the plane.

Relatives also told the paper the flight was to test a new autopilot system Basile, a retired University of Florida engineering professor, and Steve Varosi, his former student, had developed.

Witnesses say the aircraft -- a 1977 Beechcraft B-60 Duke, registry N999DE (file photo of TYPE, not actual aircraft, above) -- had just taken off from the airport, then circled several times before attempting to land. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said no distress call was transmitted from the aircraft before it went down.

All commercial flights from the airport were cancelled Sunday. US Airways, Delta, Continental, and Northwest Airlines fly from the airport. Airline service was expected to resume Monday afternoon.

General aviation traffic continues to operate from the airport, authorities said Sunday.

**   Report created 4/17/2006   Record 3
****************************************

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 999DE        Make/Model: BE60      Description: 60 Duke
  Date: 04/16/2006     Time: 1553

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: GAINESVILLE   State: FL   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  ACFT ON DEPARTURE VEERED, HIT A PARKED VEHICLE AND SLID INTO THE WEST SIDE
  OF THE AIRPORT TERMINAL, THE THREE PERSONS ON BOARD WERE FATALLY INJURED,
  NO GROUND INJURIES REPORTED, GAINESVILLE, FL

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   3
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   2     Fat:   2     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: 161553UTC WIND 240 11KTS VIS10 CLR 25/16 A3000

OTHER DATA

  Departed: GAINSVILLE, FL              Dep Date:    Dep. Time:     
  Destination:                          Flt Plan:              Wx Briefing: 
  Last Radio Cont: CLRD FOR T/O
  Last Clearance: CLR FOR T/O

  FAA FSDO: ORLANDO, FL  (SO15)                   Entry date: 04/17/2006

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.ntsb.gov

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