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NTSB: Pilot involved in 2017 Christmas Eve crash that killed 5 called ‘risky’ and ‘not a safe pilot’

Posted: 10:00 PM, Dec 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-12 23:21:49-05
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A new report released by the National Transportation Safety Board says that prominent Lakeland attorney John Shannon was considered by some people that flew with him as 'risky' and they “refused to fly with him again.”

Shannon, 70, died on Christmas Eve 2017 when the plane he was piloting crashed at Bartow Municipal Airport. Also on board the plane was Shannon’s daughter Olivia, 24, and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, Victoria’s husband, Peter Worthington, Jr. and Krista Clayton, 32, a family friend and local teacher at Jewett Academy in Lakeland.

Five killed in fiery plane crash in Bartow on Christmas Eve, fog investigated as a factor

In the days following the crash ABC Action News reported that friends and family called Shannon a good pilot that was always safe.

The report released by the NTSB contradicts some of those statements. The day of the crash the report said Shannon, “requested that the airplane be towed from the hangar to the ramp. The pilot stated that he wanted a tow so that he did not have to taxi next to the other hangars because of reduced visibility and dense fog.”

The report mentioned that the fog was so thick “they heard the airplane take off but they could not see the airplane because of the dense fog. The engines "sounded strong and [were] operating at full power" during the takeoff. They heard two tire "chirps" on the runway, then the sound of the airplane was consistent with a climb. They then heard an explosion on the east side of the airport and drove toward the explosion to find the airplane on fire.”

"There was no chance of survival, ever, and the crash is so horrific that no one suffered," Sheriff Grady Judd said during a Dec. 2017 news conference.

Judd said he personally knew one of the victims. Judd's friend, Lakeland attorney John Shannon, and four others were on the plane at the time of the crash.

The NTSB stated that they found an autopilot issue, that Shannon was aware of. And that the oil in both engines had no been changed during two previous inspections.

The report also said Shannon’s plane was 105 lbs over the maximum takeoff weight.

During their investigation the NTSB also stated “a local airplane mechanic, who was a business acquaintance of the pilot, stated that he flew with the pilot one time and then refused to fly with him again. The acquaintance stated that he was "not a safe pilot and took unnecessary risks.”