Indiana relations on the aircraft that crashed on the North County airport
Christopher Markgraf watched the plane carrying his friend’s extended family – four adults and three children aged two – down the runway at North County Airport. He saw how he ran out of asphalt and he flipped into a pond. And he saw his friend sprint afterwards.
“We saw it. Heard everything,” said Margrave on Friday, one day after the plane crashed, and injured an Indiana couple, their son and daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.
Within five minutes, said Margrave, crews from companies at the airport had all seven people out of the partially submerged aircraft.
Authorities say they took all seven and two of the people they took out to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
“If you’ve seen everything, you shouldn’t be here,” said Margrave. “It’s an absolutely God-given miracle.”
The seven – all from the Indianapolis area – were Joseph Allen and his wife Diane Allen, both 70 years old; her son Joseph, 36, and Joseph’s wife Angela Allen, 38; and that couple’s children, Abrams McCarthy (12), Logan Allen (4) and Heidi Allen (2).
“They are all in stable condition,” said son-in-law Kevin Schuldt from Michigan on Friday. “Many of them have to undergo surgery to fix broken things. None of them are in the intensive care unit.”
Both Palm Beach County’s Trauma Hawk helicopters are out of service, one for inspection and one for repairs. Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue announced Friday that Martin County had sent its LifeStar planes to take the family to a hospital, but authorities decided to drive everyone. Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue took care of the transport.
As of Friday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board, which the FAA said will lead the investigation, had not posted anything on its database website. NTSB spokespersons did not respond to a request from the Palm Beach Post for information or updates.
According to relatives, Joseph Allen is an Air Force veteran and a retired electrician. Diana works for the pet food company Purina. Both are active American Eskimo dog breeders, and Diana is the president of the National Association. They live in Edinburgh, Indiana, 35 miles south of Indianapolis.
The younger Joseph Allen or “Joe” works in Internet technology. Angela is an autism coordinator for a school district in Indiana. They live in Columbus, about 10 miles away.
Chris Markgraf, 48, who lives at The Acreage, said his friend Mark – refusing to give Mark’s full name – invited him to meet Mark’s family, who had flown on October 3 on an extended visit to their relatives in South Florida .
On Thursday, he said, Mark invited him to take the Allen clan to the airport.
He said he and Mark saw the 50-year-old twin-engine Cessna 414, a seven-seater, leave the 1,800-acre airport along the Beeline Highway northwest of PGA Boulevard at around 11:15 a.m. Allen’s are certified pilots, but he didn’t know who it was Airplane piloted.
“About a third of the way down the runway, I said, ‘Hey. You’re in trouble,'” said Margrave. “They were fast enough to fly, but they didn’t come off the ground.”
He said the aircraft’s engines never lost power or even stuttered.
“I could see how the plane was just bouncing. It wanted to fly,” said Markgraf. “I heard them killing power and trying to stop. There wasn’t enough real estate.”
He said Mike sprinted toward the plane about half a mile away while running into the house to call 911. When he got to the pond, everyone was outside.
The people from the airport had stood in the pond in chest-deep water and hand in hand had brought the seven off the plane and into safety.
Margrave said one of the kids needed some pressure and he ripped off his shirt.
Sean Nowlin, an airport mechanic, was working when an outside colleague called out that a plane had crashed. Nowlin and a colleague grabbed a fire extinguisher and cutter, jumped into a golf cart, and ran down the runway. When they got to the pond, everyone was still on the plane.
“One of the boys yelled, ‘They’re alive! And there are kids in there!’ Everything has come up exponentially, “Nowlin said. “They opened the door and started taking people out.”
The nose and part of the cabin were under water as the plane was at an angle on the bank of the pond. He said the water was above his head in some places.
Nowlin said he helped carry some of the smaller children and slide down a wing. He said a man he believed to be the elder Joseph Allen was sitting in a daze on the bank.
“I kept saying, ‘Are you okay buddy? Where are you hurting yourself?’ “recalled Nowlin, who is Australian. “He said, ‘I don’t know what happened. I just don’t know what happened.’ I said, “don’t worry. You’re all off the plane. The kids are here. The kids are fine. The children are next to you. “” “
Only later, said Nowlin, did he think of his own children.
“They remember that this is the situation they are in,” he said. “It pulls on your heart.”
The employee Melanie Mena contributed to this story.