SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - State Police identified the two men killed in an experimental plane crash off Carolina Road Saturday as a father and son from Maryland.
Police said the single-engine plane built by its pilot went down in a field near the Southside Trailer Park at 1073 Carolina Road around 1 p.m. The pilot and passenger were the only people in the plane.
State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Michell Anaya said family members identified the two victims as pilot and owner Berry Raymond Newgent, 73, of Davidsonville, Md., and his son, Thomas Berry Newgent, 51, of Westminister, Md.
Anay a said Berry Newgent missed landing several times at the Suffolk Executive Airport before crashing. The plane was not participating in the Festival of Flight held at the airport Sunday, she said.
Johnnie Sherrod said he saw the plane plummeting to the ground before crashing.
"You will carry a scene like this the rest of your life," Sherrod said. "You'll never forget it. As I was coming northbound on Carolina Road I saw that it was kind of coming across, and approaching, it went into a nose dive, then it was gone."
Not knowing what he would see or hear, Sherrod rushed to find the plane.
"I jumped out of my car, ran across, jumped over the ditch, and I just saw two people inside the plane," he said.
The men were motionless and leaning on one another, he said.
"It's kind of real devastating to see actual people like that, and you know there's probably nothing you could do for them," Sherrod said. "I knew there was nothing I could for do them."
State Police said the pair crashed their experimental airplane less than a mile from the Suffolk Executive Airport. Airport manager Kent Marshall said the men flew in earlier with two other planes Saturday afternoon for the Suffolk Festival of Flight but were not participants in the event.
Later, the pair went out for a leisurely fly. On their way back, they attempted to land several times before crashing in a nearby field.
"It's weird something like this happening so close to home," said resident Gabrielle Looney. "It just gives the jitters."
Sherrod says seeing the scene is yet another reminder of how precious life is.
"Just remember every morning you wake up you never know how the day is going to end so try to live it the best way you can and live it to the fullest," Sherrod.
State Police have alerted the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board of the crash. A cause remains under investigation.
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