Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, N110CF: Accident occurred November 24, 2020 in New Smyrna Beach, Volusia County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aircraft experienced engine issues and landed in a retention pond. 

Blue Horizons Flying Club Inc

Date: 24-NOV-20
Time: 23:20:00Z
Regis#: N110CF
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA32
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91

NEW SMYRNA BEACH — A man and woman survived a small plane crash-landing into a retention pond west of the Tuscany Square Condominiums in Venetian Bay on Tuesday evening.

Several witnesses jumped into the water to help with the rescue.

A New Smyrna Beach Police report states the two, pilot Mark Kurfess, 59, of Millbury, Ohio, and Beverlee Blessing, 60, of Monroe, Michigan, had been treated at the scene for minor injuries. They were seen leaving under their own power with friends. 

The crash victims declined to comment at the scene.

They were on their way to New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport to deliver a puppy to friends. Rescuers said they could not find the dog.

One of two people to survive a small plane crash, left, talks with friends as a New Smyrna Beach Police officer stands by on Tuesday night at a lake adjacent to the Tuscany Square Condominiums at Venetian Bay.
The Federal Aviation Administration reported the plane is a 1974 Piper PA-32 that experienced issues with its single engine. It is registered to Blue Horizons Flying Club of Perrysburg, Ohio.

The FAA is investigating.

Witnesses were stunned to hear a loud noise, then see the small airplane headed east toward the condos and Bistro 424, a restaurant overlooking the lake, make a left turn and level off, crash-landing into the water just after dark. The condo complex is near Airport Road on Luna Bella Lane.

A New Smyrna Beach Police report put the time of the emergency call at 6:20 p.m.

Jeremy and Torrie Laughridge were eating on the outdoor patio of the restaurant and heard the "weird, strange noise," and looked out over the lake.

"The next thing you know, kind of out of the blue, you see a plane and it's really low, and we're all kind of like, 'Oh, my God, what's going on?' Thank goodness he turned because he was heading straight for the restaurant," Jeremy Laughridge said about an hour later.

"He did what appeared to be a really good job of a water landing, really flat," Jeremy Laughridge said.

Laughridge stripped down to his underwear so he could swim better, and jumped into the lake.  

Jeremy Laughridge, a resident of Venetian Bay, was eating dinner on the Bistro 424 patio overlooking a lake when a small plane crashed there on Tuesday night. Laughridge swam out to the plane and helped rescue a man and woman.
"When I got to the plane, that's when it started to sink under and the two people were pretty much in shock. ... The woman said she couldn't swim. The man, he definitely was in shock," Laughridge said.

After what he estimated was about 10 or 15 minutes, he said one of the city rescuers swam out to the plane with a flotation device.

Michael Roberts, who lives in an apartment nearby, heard someone asking for a boat.

"I grabbed my longboard and paddled out there," Roberts said on Wednesday. "There was already and EMS guy with a flotation device and a life jacket on. I put the lady on the board and got her to the shore."

Lisa Mickey, whose condo faces the water, said she heard a "weird sound," almost as if someone crashed a golf cart. When she saw that a plane was in the water, she heard a voice cry out, "I can't swim."

Mickey said the plane appeared to be sinking further and further into the water, with its nose down on the muddy bottom.

Dr. Kevin Huffman and his daughter Heidi were also having dinner at Bistro 424 when the plane crashed. Huffman, whose office is on the ground floor of the condos, also jumped in the water and swam toward the crash.

"It's amazing they're OK," Huffman said, still wet.

Heidi Huffman added: "Thank God it crashed where it did, because it could have been much worse than it was."

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Florida – A small plane landed in a pond in New Smyrna Beach Tuesday evening, according to Federal Aviation Authority officials.

Multiple 911 calls reported the incident near Luna Bella Lane and Airport Road around 6:20 p.m.

The New Smyrna Beach Fire Department said the two people who were on board the plane suffered minor injuries and did not require hospitalization.

Kevin Huffman said he’s a family practice physician and was eating dinner with his daughter nearby when the plane went down.

“I heard an explosion and I thought it was a car coming off the road, flipping into the water, but then we noticed it was an airplane,” Kevin Huffman said.

Heidi Huffman said that she watched as the plane hit the water.

“I saw the plane and smoke coming out of it and then I witnessed the plane land, it was a pretty smooth landing. The pilot did a really good job landing it,” Heidi Huffman said.

The Huffmans said that several people in the area ran over to help, with Kevin Huffman getting into the water himself.

“As I got closer, that’s when the other gentleman got there and said, ‘They were OK, they are OK’ and they are hanging on, so I went out to make sure they weren’t trapped inside,” Kevin Huffman said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident, which involved a Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six.


  1. Interested why he diverted to lwb while enroute non stop to evb. Glad they survived, they came right over my friends house while landing in the lake.

  2. Date Departure Arrival Duration
    24-Nov-2020 16:05 EST Aiken Rgnl - AIK 18:19 EST New Smyrna Beach Muni - EVB
    2h 14m
    24-Nov-2020 12:42 EST Greenbrier Valley - LWB 15:01 EST Aiken Rgnl - AIK
    2h 19m
    24-Nov-2020 09:42 EST Toledo Executive - TDZ 11:39 EST Greenbrier Valley - LWB
    1h 57m
    24-Nov-2020 09:42 EST Toledo Executive - TDZ New Smyrna Beach Muni - EVB


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