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Police ID victims of plane crash

But cause of the accident in Clearwater hasn't been established.

Published February 16, 2005

[Times photo: Douglas R. Clifford]
A shattered single-engine Beechcraft Debonair rests between two homes on Grovewood Road where it crashed Tuesday.

Clearwater police on Wednesday afternoon identified the two men killed in Tuesday's plane crash as Ralph Carl Herrlin, 78, of Clearwater, and James Edward Smith, 63, of Palm Harbor.

It remained unknown which man was piloting the single-engine Beechcraft Debonair plane at 5 p.m., when it nose-dived into a house at 2210 Grovewood Rd. Herrlin owns the plane and Smith performed maintenance on it, according to the men's friends.

No one on the ground was injured.

No cause for the crash was established.

The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner were able to identify Herrlin as one of the dead, but was not able to say definitively that Smith was killed. However, witnesses told police that moments before the plane took off Smith was seen boarding it, Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor said.

The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the crash Wednesday.

[Last modified February 16, 2005, 16:43:22]

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