Plane Wreck Claims Five Printers

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—What started out as a weekend fishing trip to the Bahamas for employees of Identity Graphics and Printing, based here, turned to tragedy when one of two planes carrying the employees crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all five on board.

The April 21 accident claimed the lives of pilot Glen Quackenbush and four fellow printers—Michael Gross, Troy Taylor, Michael Levofsky and Mark Santa—in what appeared to be a weather-related accident. Taylor was vice president of Crystal Image Graphics of Hallandale, FL; the rest were employed by Identity Graphics and Printing.

Quackenbush’s Piper Aztec left the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport around 9 a.m., bound for the Andros Island in the Bahamas before heading to Staniel Cay in the Exumas. According to CBS 4, a Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to the scene after contact with the plane was lost. Debris from the plane was spotted about 17 miles east of Ft. Lauderdale.

The first group of Identity Graphics and Printing employees had flown to the Bahamas the previous day.

Initial reports indicate that bad weather might have played a role in the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board said that Quackenbush wasn’t authorized to fly into poor visibility conditions because he didn’t have an instrument rating, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

The National Weather Service told the paper there were heavy showers off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale that morning.

In an e-mail to customers and friends, Identity CEO John Wohlford wrote, “We have received hundreds of e-mails and calls with messages of sorrow and condolences. We appreciate everyone’s thoughts through this very difficult time and have passed everyone’s thoughts along to the family members who have lost their loved ones.”

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