A Baltimore couple was killed in a small plane crash in Florida on Christmas Eve, according to the Polk County sheriff’s office.
Five people died when a twin-engine plane crashed Sunday morning at Bartow Municipal Airport, authorities said. Among them was a Baltimore school teacher and a University of Maryland law student.
Victoria Shannon-Worthington, 26, and Peter Worthington Jr., 27, were recently married and visiting family in Florida for the holidays.
Also killed in the crash was Victoria’s father, 70-year-old John Shannon, a Lakeland, Fla., attorney who was piloting the plane. His other daughter, 24-year-old Olivia Shannon, and a family friend, 32-year-old Krista Clayton, also died immediately on impact, the sheriff’s office said.
Shannon had filed a flight plan to fly Sunday from Bartow to Key West. The plane took off around 7:15 a.m., flying east into heavy fog, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
“For unknown reasons, but likely related to the fog, it crashed shortly after takeoff,” the statement read. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will further investigate the cause of the crash.
A fire engulfed the plane after it crashed; everyone on board died.
“This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement.
Victoria Shannon and Peter Worthington were married in June at Baltimore’s George Peabody Library, according to a wedding announcement. Both graduated from Clemson University, and Shannon-Worthington earned a master’s in teaching elementary education from the Johns Hopkins University.
Shannon-Worthington taught fourth-grade English Language Arts at Baltimore International Academy, a public charter school. In her teacher biography, she wrote that she hopes to help children “grow into empathetic and independent citizens.”
“I believe that the students are the center—the heart and soul— of the classroom, and each student brings a unique perspective to the classroom,” she wrote. “I love to read and write. I hope to inspire the same love of learning in your child.”
Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English called Shannon-Worthington “an exemplary teacher.”
“Our hearts and prayers go out to her family, colleagues and her students at BIA," she said in a statement.
University of Maryland Carey Law Dean Donald Tobin said Worthington was a third-year law student.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to his friends and family and also to the friends and family of those who died with him in this terrible crash,” Tobin said. “He was a tremendous contributor to our community, and he will be terribly missed.”