A St. Petersburg veterinarian and his wife have been identified as the two people who died in a plane crash near a North Carolina airport.
Dr. Harvey Partridge and Patricia Partridge, both 72, of Terra Ceia, Florida were on board the aircraft.
Partridge Animal Hospital released the following statement on the crash:
The staff of Partridge Animal Hospital is devastated to announce the death of our founder Dr. Harvey Partridge and his wife Pat in a plane crash last night in Raleigh, N.C. The plane was owned by Dr. Partridge, who was an experienced pilot. There were no other passengers aboard.
While our staff will be on site to care for pets at the hospital, we are rescheduling Monday’s appointments and will have our phones turned off for the day. We will make sure that anyone with a pet currently staying at our hospital can reach us, and we are referring emergency calls to Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists at (727) 531-5752.
Dr. Partridge was a truly wonderful doctor and advocate for animals, and he and his wife will be terribly missed by our staff and clients. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time.
Sgt. Michael Baker reported the deaths at a news briefing Monday.
The Piper PA-32 plane disappeared from radar Sunday night as it approached Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the wreckage was discovered Monday near a trail at William B. Umstead State Park just about a mile away from the airport.
Rescuers from at least a dozen state and local agencies spent Sunday night searching in and around the park, a 5,600-acre (2,260-hectare) wooded expanse bounded by an interstate, the airport and a state highway. The park remained closed Monday, and people were asked to avoid the area while authorities secured the crash site.
"He has given this dog a great life, has given our family a great life," said Greg Wolf. "He’s going to be tremendously missed."
Wolf has been taking his dogs to see Dr. Partridge for several years and credits the St. Pete vet with helping give his 16-year-old chihuahua a long, healthy life.
"The fact that he put everything into doing whatever he could to save our dog said everything to me and to our family," said Wolf.
The Partridge Animal Hospital took care of St. Pete Police Department's K9 officers for more than 6 years. K9 sergeants with the department said the well-known veterinarian will be sorely missed.
"He's a great guy. A very personal guy," Sergeant Christopher Turbee explained. "Dr. Harvey has come out in the middle of the night to service our dogs that have been hurt. He was very accomodating and we are thankful for all they've done for us."
Sergeant Todd Hancock chimed in, "He was just a warm person. A nice human being who always wanted to hear about how our K9s were doing. He is really going to be missed. That name Partridge is a name that brings respect in the community."
“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the Partridges,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “I want to thank our mutual aid partners for their collaborative effort throughout this difficult event.”
The NTSB continues to investigate the crash.