Friday, October 26, 2018

Piper PA-31T Cheyenne, N555PM: Fatal accident occurred October 25, 2018 off South Carolina coast

Jamie Mitchum Jr.

James Edwin “Jamie” Mitchum, Jr., 58, of St. Stephen, SC, owner and operator of Mitchum’s Construction, Inc., was lost at sea on October 25, 2018. He, along with 4 other people were in route to the Bahamas when their plane lost contact and disappeared from radar.

A celebration of his life will be held from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM Sunday, November 4, 2018, in the Northwood Academy Gymnasium, 104 Charger Dr., Summerville, SC, with the service beginning at 5:00 PM. Condolences may be sent to the family at PO Box 777, Bonneau, SC 29431.

Mr. Mitchum was born December 15, 1959, in Moncks Corner, SC, a son of James E. Mitchum, Sr., and Kay Schwartz Mitchum. He was a licensed helicopter and airplane pilot, and he also volunteered with the Berkeley County Rescue Squad. He loved all things adventurous — flying his helicopters and planes, boating, fishing, hiking, riding motorcycles, and enjoyed sharing those experiences with his relatives and friends. It was his nature to take others along to enjoy the rare scenery from all sorts of places - on his boat, in the air, over the water, on the open road. He was an amazing man who brought much joy to others.

Surviving are, his wife, Sandra Nobles Mitchum; a daughter, Brooke Hensley and her husband, Derek, of St. Stephen; a son, Brock Mitchum of St. Stephen; a sister, Lynn Mixon and her husband, Gerald, of Bethera; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Buddy and Mary Nobles of St. Stephen; and four grandchildren, Logan Mitchum, Mason Mitchum, Kaylee Mitchum, and Makaylyn Hensley.

https://www.meaningfulfunerals.net

Jamie Mitchum, a private pilot in Berkeley County, South Carolina, was one of five people aboard a plane bound for the Bahamas that went missing last week off the coast of Charleston. 


Joseph Allbritton competes in the Megadock Billfishing Tournament in Charleston in 2016. The Charleston resident was among five people aboard a small plane that went missing off the coast after taking off from Georgetown County on October 25.


Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Carolina

Declared emergency and lost communication and radar of aircraft.

Bulldog Flying Club Inc

https://registry.faa.gov/N555PM

Date: 25-OCT-18
Time: 12:16:00Z
Regis#: N555PM
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 31T
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: Yes
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
City: CHARLESTON
State: SOUTH CAROLINA

Two of the five Lowcountry residents aboard a small plane that disappeared off Charleston’s coast last week are being remembered by loved ones as avid outdoorsmen — one a private pilot, the other a sport fishing captain.

An eight-seat Piper PA-31T bound for the Bahamas took off from the Robert F. Swinnie Airport in Andrews on Oct. 25 and disappeared more than 100 miles off the coast. Authorities said the plane’s occupants reported an in-flight emergency to air traffic controllers before the plane fell off radar southeast of Charleston.

Some families of the five passengers this week are planning memorial services after the Coast Guard’s three-day search of the Atlantic Ocean failed to turn up any signs of the downed aircraft or the victims.

While the Coast Guard has declined to release the names of those on the plane, loved ones have publicly identified two of the passengers as Jamie Mitchum Jr., 58, of Bonneau, and Joseph Wayne Allbritton Jr., 34, of Charleston.

Mitchum and others aboard were licensed pilots, according to FAA records. Authorities have not said who was flying the aircraft.

Mitchum’s relatives and friends described him as a family man with a strong faith in God.

He loved all things adventurous — flying his helicopters and planes, boating, fishing, hiking, riding motorcycles — and enjoyed sharing those experiences with his relatives and friends.

“It was his nature to take others along to enjoy the rare scenery from all sorts of places,” his niece Marsha Mixon Costa said. “On his boat, in the air, over the water, on the open road. He was an amazing man and brought much joy to others.”

Mitchum worked in construction and volunteered with the Berkeley County Rescue Squad, flying his helicopter whenever the search group needed a view from above. Bill Salisbury, chief of the volunteer squad that disbanded last year, said the pilot never allowed the organization to reimburse him for the cost of fuel.

“You could not have met a finer guy,” said Salisbury, who also serves as coroner of Berkeley County. “Jamie was the one to help you.”

At the annual CoonFest on Lake Moultrie, Mitchum could be found in the middle of the action on his house boat, Salisbury said. He and his wife took regular fishing trips to Florida.

Loved ones of Allbritton planned to gather Thursday for a memorial service and a celebration of life at Ripley Light Yacht Club to honor the man they knew as adventurous and passionate.

A Sumter native and Clemson graduate, Allbritton lived in Charleston with his wife, Diana, and their young son. His work as a fishing boat captain took him around the world to places such as the Bahamas, Fiji and New Zealand. In flying to the Bahamas last week, he was returning to work after spending time with his family, according to a GoFundMe page that has raised nearly $50,000 for his wife and son. 

Allbritton was widely known around Charleston’s docks, where other captains and crew members said he always had a smile at fishing tournaments regardless of whether his boat competed well.

Staff with the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series penned a tribute to Allbritton, saying the fishing community was fortunate to witness his accomplishments and watch him assume the role of dedicated father. They vowed to help make sure Allbritton’s son knows him through their fond memories of him.

“Capt. Joseph, we could always count on you. In an age when reliability is difficult, you were a constant pillar of true authenticity and principled honor,” fishing series staff said on Facebook.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of last week’s plane crash. Diana Allbritton wrote on Facebook that she hopes the results of that probe can help avert further tragedies. 

“This, I’m sure, will be an exhaustive investigation. Hopefully whatever they discover can be used to help prevent a similar plane crash for people in the future,” she said. 


https://www.postandcourier.com


CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) - Hundreds attended a celebration of life service and memorial on Thursday to pay their respects to a man who hasn’t been seen since the plane he was traveling in went missing off the coast near Charleston late last month.

The memorial service for 34-year-old Joseph Allbritton was held at the First Baptist Church in Charleston.

His family confirmed that he was one of five people traveling on a Piper PA-31 aircraft that departed from Robert F. Swinnie Airport in Andrews and was headed to the Bahamas. Allbritton, a Sumter native, had a wife and 3-year-old son.

“It’s the hardest moment I could possibly imagine multiplied by 1,000. It’s utterly impossible to get your head around,” Joshua Allbritton, Joseph’s brother said.

Coast Guard officials said in a news release that the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, or AFRCC, notified the Coast Guard 7th District watch standers at 11:33 a.m. on Oct. 25 of a civilian aircraft emergency. The Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center received a report from the aircraft of an in-flight emergency, lost contact on radar and notified the AFRCC.

Friends, family, and loved ones say the perfect description of Joseph Allbritton is, “a quiet man with a loud voice.”

At his memorial and celebration of life service, it was clear that Joseph undoubtedly touched the lives of many.

“You don’t expect a 34-year-old to go off to his job and not come home,” Pastor Clay Smith with Alice Drive Baptist Church in Sumter said. “When the Coast Guard is searching for the family, it’s a gut-wrenching time. There’s a couple of days there were maybe there’s hope, maybe he’s still out there, maybe he’s on a raft, and then as time passes it doesn’t look good and they have to come to this acceptance.”

Fred Moulton, Headmaster of Wilson Hall, attended the memorial service Thursday. Allbritton graduated from Wilson Hall in 2002.

Moulton said in the decades he’s been at the school, Allbritton is one of the students that stood out.

“It didn’t matter if I was 50-years-old or 15-years-old, you were drawn to him.” Moulton said. “You know when I saw the orange Clemson hat on the reef at the service it just brought a tear to my eye. That’s him - it’s a working shirt, it’s a crooked hat, it’s dust and dirt and hard hands and big shoulders and a smile.”

After searching approximately 3,516 miles for 76 hours, the Coast Guard suspended their search on Oct. 27.

“It is with a heavy heart that we suspend our search for the missing aircraft and its five passengers,” Capt. John Reed, Commander, Sector Charleston said. “I have spoken with the family of those that were on this plane and extend my deepest sympathies to them and all those who have been hit by this tragic loss at sea.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

https://www.live5news.com

Joseph Allbritton

Memorial Service for Joseph Allbritton: 
Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 11:00
First Baptist Church 
48 Meeting Street
Charleston, South Carolina

Celebration of Life
Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 5:00
Ripley Light Marina/Yacht Club
95 Ripley Point Drive
Charleston, South Carolina



Diana Allbritton recently lost her husband, Joseph Allbritton, in a terrible private plane crash. He was flying back to work in the Bahamas as a fishing boat captain after spending a wonderful two weeks at home with his family and the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 110 miles east of Charleston. After an exhaustive three day air and water search, the Coast Guard's Search and Rescue team ceased.  They were unable to retrieve anything related to the crash for many weather related reasons. Help Diana's family move forward:  https://www.gofundme.com

Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton crew members search for a downed civilian aircraft Oct. 27, 2018, 110 miles east of Charleston. The aircraft, a Piper PA-31, was en route to the Bahamas from South Carolina on when they declared an in-flight emergency and were lost on radar. The Coast Guard ended its search Saturday night.



Search efforts have been suspended for a downed aircraft that went missing about 110 miles east of Charleston on Thursday, carrying Joseph Allbritton Jr., a Sumter native and Wilson Hall alumnus.

After searching about 3,516 square miles over 76 hours for the Piper PA-31 twin-engine aircraft, The Coast Guard 7th District announced “with a heavy heart” it was suspending the search for the plane and its five passengers, according to Capt. John Reed, commander, Sector Charleston, on its website.

“I have spoken with the family of those that were on this plane and extend my deepest sympathies to them and all those who have been hit by this tragic loss at sea,” he said in a news release.

The aircraft was leaving from South Carolina to the Bahamas when the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center received a report from it of an “in-flight emergency, lost contact on radar and notified the AFRCC.”

Allbritton Jr.’s wife, Diana Schmidt Allbritton, posted on Facebook Sunday that her husband “was in a private plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday morning.” The Coast Guard has not released information about the plane’s occupants or owner, but several people have told The Sumter Item since Thursday Allbritton was a passenger.

Posts about his status on the flight across social media have not been made private from friends and family members.

“The Coast Guard gave us a final briefing late yesterday afternoon. After an exhaustive three-day air and water search, Search and Rescue ceased at sunset (about 6:30 p.m.),” his wife posted Sunday. “They were unable to retrieve anything related to the crash, in part due to difficult weather conditions including high waves, winds and the nature of the crash. The Coast Guard was in touch with us throughout the days and nights as they continuously searched for survivors. They were the most caring group of people and presented us information in a most humane way.

“Members of the Coast Guard prayed with us and shared tears.”

She wrote in the post that the Coast Guard news release did not include the names of the five lost “per the request of one of the other families.”

“We were not opposed to the release of Joseph’s name to the public, so please feel free to share this news with anyone who you think you should know,” her post continued. “Joseph traveled extensively with his job and always lived his life to the fullest and loved his career with everything he had.”

She wrote that the National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation into the crash and that “hopefully whatever they discover can be used to help prevent a similar plane crash for people in the future.”

Allbritton, who has a young child with Allbritton Jr., said, “Our hearts are full from all the outpouring of love and support we have received from all of you.”


Original article can be found here ➤  http://www.theitem.com


Coast Guard continues to search for downed aircraft 110 miles east of Charleston 

U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 10/26/2018 03:17 PM EDT

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District PA Detachment Jacksonville
Contact: Coast Guard PA Detachment Jacksonville
Office: 904-714-7606/7607
After Hours: 305-318-1864

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Coast Guard is continuing to search Friday for a downed aircraft approximately 110 miles east of Charleston.

As of 12 p.m., Coast Guard crews have searched approximately 2,600 square miles.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) notified Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders Thursday of a civilian aircraft emergency at 11:33 a.m. The Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center received a report from the aircraft of an in-flight emergency, lost contact on radar and notified the AFRCC. The aircraft, a Piper PA-31, was leaving from South Carolina to the Bahamas.




The Coast Guard continued its search Friday for a small airplane that went missing off Charleston a day earlier.

Flight-tracking websites showed a Piper PA-31 owned by a Delaware company flying southward over the Atlantic Ocean toward the Bahamas when it suddenly fell off radar.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it would not confirm specifics about the plane until it’s found and its occupants are identified, regional spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

Officials were able to confirm that there were five people aboard the missing airplane.

Information on FlightAware.com, a worldwide tracking service that pulls data from air traffic control systems, is consistent with the details authorities have released.

Bound for the Bahamas, the airplane took off Thursday morning from the Robert F. Swinnie Airport in Andrews in western Georgetown County, officials have said.

The Coast Guard said air traffic controllers later got a report of an in-flight emergency, then lost contact with the plane about 100 miles southeast of Charleston.

Coast Guard helicopters, an airplane from Florida and the Cutter Hamilton, a ship based in North Charleston, had searched 2,600 square miles of the ocean surface by midday Friday, the agency said, but it had not announced discovery of the aircraft.

The Hamilton’s crew also planned to search overnight, according to the Coast Guard.

FlightAware.com and other websites identified the plane as a 1976 two-engine Piper owned by Bulldog Flying Club Inc. in Wilmington, Del. The eight-seat plane had reached an altitude of nearly 25,000 feet and a top speed of about 270 mph, the data showed. Those numbers dipped before radar lost contact.

Original article ➤ https://www.postandcourier.com

The U.S. Coast Guard reported Friday afternoon that it had searched more than 2,600 square miles of ocean and found no signs of a small plane that vanished Thursday off the coast of South Carolina, a USCG spokesman said Friday.

The search area was centered about 110 miles east of Charleston, USCG Petty Officer Ryan Dickinson said.

Coast Guard officials said they learned at 11:33 a.m. Thursday of a civilian aircraft that had communicated details of “an in-flight emergency.”

The Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center reported it lost contact with the aircraft on radar about the same time, said a release.

The Piper PA-31 was heading for the Bahamas when it disappeared, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration told the Charleston Post & Courier “it would not confirm specifics about the plane until it’s found and its occupants are identified,” the newspaper reported.

The plane left Robert F. Swinnie Airport in Andrews, South Carolina, on Thursday morning, according to WCSC. Andrews is about an hour south of Myrtle Beach.

The Flight Safety Foundation’s Air Safety Network reported that a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne went missing in the Atlantic Ocean at 11:33 a.m. Thursday.

The Flight Aware plane tracking website shows the twin-engine plane, tail number N555PM, taking off from the small airport in Andrews, flying out over the ocean before turning back after about 30 minutes and heading towards Charleston. Then the plane disappeared from radar, the track shows.

The plane was bound for Governor’s Harbor Airport in the Bahamas, the South Strand News Reports, before being diverted to Charleston at 11:18 a.m.

FAA records show the turbo-prop plane, built in 1976, belonged to the Bulldog Flying Club, registered in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Coast Guard on Friday morning said in a tweet that a HC-130 Hercules out of Clearwater, Florida, “is conducting a first light search for the downed civilian aircraft.” Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton searched through the night, the USCG added.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.thestate.com

Coast Guard responds to downed aircraft 110 miles east of Charleston

U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 10/25/2018 07:21 PM EDT

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District PA Detachment Jacksonville
Contact: Coast Guard PA Detachment Jacksonville
Office: 904-714-7606/7607
After Hours: 305-318-1864
PA Detachment Jacksonville online newsroom

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Coast Guard is responding to a downed aircraft Thursday approximately 110 miles east of Charleston.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) notified Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders of a civilian aircraft emergency at 11:33 a.m. The Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center received a report from the aircraft of an in-flight emergency, lost contact on radar and notified the AFRCC. The aircraft, a Piper PA-31, was leaving from South Carolina to the Bahamas. 

Assisting in the response are:

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City HC-130 Hercules aircraft
Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton
Coast Guard Cutter Nathan Bruckenthal
Commercial vessel Seabulk Challenge
Navy P-3 Orion

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Emergency crews are continuing to search for a missing private plane about 100 miles south-southeast of Charleston.

On Thursday night, Coast Guard officials stated that the USCG Cutter Hamilton crew would continue to search throughout the night for the aircraft.

“Air assets will conduct a first light search Friday morning,” USCG officials said.

The Coast Guard had earlier deployed aircraft and vessels to search for the Piper PA-31 aircraft which the Federal Aviation Administration said had been missing since around 11:45 a.m. Thursday.

The aircraft had departed from Robert F. Swinnie Airport in Andrews, SC, and was headed to the Bahamas.

Officials with the Coast Guard say they were initially notified at 11:33 a.m. regarding the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center receiving a report from the aircraft of an in-flight emergency, lost contact on radar and notified the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, crews with the US Navy and the Coast Guard were dispatched to search for the plane.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.wmbfnews.com

11 comments:

daveyl123 said...

Hmm. A Lot of data missing here. When you declare an emergency,if you have altitude to spare and the plane is controllable, tell the agency you're in contact with what your problem is, number of persons aboard, fuel state and intentions. An ICAO International Flight Plan should have been filed and activated, and those forms include data on transmitters: ELT/PLB/CPI, Rafts, Flares and other equipment required for flight over oceans. The RADAR should have indicated a CST or "Coast" trace on the display that would aid in locating the position of ditching. From that estimate, searchers can try to locate floating debris, or listen for the ELT underwater signal pulses. This definitely does not look good for a rescue, but a recovery of the wreckage may be possible.

Anonymous said...

Also worth noting, the torched drug plane that was found the same day in Belize appears to look like the same model and paint as this missing aircraft. I don't know if this plane has the range to fly from SC to Belize but might be worth looking into.

Anonymous said...

I just did a quick internet search of the distance from Charleston,SC to Belize City and it is 1,220 miles. Well within the 1,700 mile range of a PA-31T. Interesting.

Anonymous said...


The plane in Belize was a King Air, the missing plane is a Piper Navaho.

Anonymous said...

Impossible to know what happened based upon the scanty information available at this moment.

Odds are given the history of aviation in this area, that human error on the part of the pilot, aircraft maintenance, or some combination of the two, were the major determinants in whatever happened.

Anonymous said...

After comparing the photos of a PA-31T(N555PM) and those from www.channel5.com in Belize of the burned out suspected drug plane, I've concluded they're different aircraft. A PA-31T has no dihedral of the horizontal stabilizer whereas the burned out plane in the pic does.

Anonymous said...

If you research this make and model aircraft you’ll see an AD Concerning the electrical panel on the left side of the cockpit near the floor area concerning electrical lines and hydraulic lines . This is a reoccurring problem with this make a model aircraft for in flight fires. This could explain between the fire and smoke Why no further communications were made .

Jim said...

If he lived in Charleston why would he drive about sixty miles to an non towered airport with not much activity and why would the the company want to pick him up there? Not much info out there on Bulldog Flying Club. But what comes to mind would be a fire in flight. Would the Cheyenne need to run the combustion heater at 25000'?

daveyl123 said...

Jim, good questions. The NTSB will have all the resources to research the answers. You'll absolutely need to use a heater (If not a "Combustion" type, then a bleed Air Cycle unit.) at FL250. The air is perty dern cold at that altitude. A clue as to a possible causal factor would be the weather that impeded the search efforts. Satellite photos taken at the time of the emergency could show some weather conditions existing at that point. RADAR paints some weather, but most of the returns are washed with computer programs. Many "Clubs" are simply tax shelters or associations which involve fractional ownership of aircraft. (Sort of an aeronautical Time Share scheme..) All this would come out in the final NTSB Probable Cause Report....some time in the distant future. It will be a nail biter for that team, because they only have an emergency declared, a RADAR Display recording, maintenance/fueling logs, pilot background data and weather observations to determine what happened.

Anonymous said...

The Cheyenne in question would have a combustion heater that would be likely used at 24000 feet. The Cheyenne floor is very cold. Many also had an electric aux heater as well. Later models used an air cycle machine.

There are issues with fire starting in between the pilot's and co-pilot's seats, with mandatory inspections mandated by the FAA in 2017. The issue was chafing very high amperage wiring.

daveyl123 said...

Anonymous, that's good information. As I pointed out, the aircraft logs would reflect whether there was an inspection performed within the allotted flight hours. Have there been many fires of that type? The AD narrative describes a single fatal mishap attributed to circuit breaker panel wiring anomalies