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Celebration of Life service for Enders family set for Saturday

A celebration of life service for Nate and Laura Enders and their two sons Jaden and Eli has been planned for 4 p.m. this Saturday, April 29 at Candler Field Museum in Williamson. By Walter Geiger Nathan and Laura Enders of Williamson and their two young sons died in an airplane crash that killed them April 15 at the Williston, Fla. airport. Nathan was at the controls of an immaculately restored 1948 Cessna 170. He was a pilot, flight instructor and FAA employee. He landed at Williston and bought fuel at 2:38 p.m. The Cessna malfunctioned on takeoff and fell 500-1000 feet to the ground sometime after 3:10 p.m. Though the shiny, metal wreckage was only 150 feet off the runway, it went unnoticed for 21 hours despite the fact the airport hosted a fly-in barbecue the day of the crash. The doomed plane’s emergency landing transmitter (ELT) was functioning though the antenna had been snapped off in the crash but, like the wreckage, went unnoticed by pilots arriving and departing at the airport. According to a report by Carolyn Ten Broeck, editor of the Williston Star, the plane was not found until after 1 p.m. Sunday when airport superintendent Wayne Middleton reported in to refuel a jet. The Williston airport is known for its low fuel prices. Once the jet departed, the pilot radioed back he heard an ELT indicator on his equipment. In the meantime, Middleton had gone into a restaurant at the airport and heard patrons talking about a crash and looking at pictures of the Cessna the restaurant owner had taken earlier that morning. Middleton jumped on a golf cart, went down runway 23 and found the wreckage with the bodies inside and called for help. In the aftermath of the crash, Deputy Chief Clay Connolly of the Williston P.D. alleged a ‘˜huge complacency issue’ on the parts of the pilots who entered and departed the airspace and did not see the wreckage. Others termed the pilots negligent. At issue were questions as to whether or not any of those on board would have survived had the crash been detected earlier and emergency medical help dispatched. Contacted Friday, Connolly said it was highly likely that all four of those onboard died on impact. ‘The aircraft struck nose first, the engine entered the cockpit and there is little likelihood anyone survived the impact. The tail section was near vertical. Time of death will be determined by the medical examiner but I suspect they all expired together,’ Connolly said. He also reported pilots who use the airport regularly have taken issue with his complacency comment. He noted runway 23 is nearly 7000 feet long and, in that Williston is a general aviation facility, most aircraft are well aloft by midfield. ‘They say it would be unlikely they would be looking down and to the left as there would be no threat to their continued flight coming from below,’ Connolly added. He related one pilot took off while first responders were at the crash scene and saw only one emergency vehicle with its lights flashing though there were at least six. Those at the crash scene could not see the fixed base operation at the airport either. ’I am not an aviator. I have been a police officer for 29 years and I could not imagine 20 or more aircraft flying past that scene without noticing a bright, shiny and polished aluminum tail section sticking into the air. Still, I am told I am wrong. I can only hope that I am and the aviators are right’¦. I would like to think that anyone would have acted on this had they seen the wreckage,’ Connolly said. Connolly acknowledged the pilots’ explanation still leaves the question of the ELT which was transmitting the morning after the crash, indicating that it was transmitting in the immediate aftermath as well. The crash is under investigation by the NTSB and preliminary findings remain at least a week out. Nathan Enders, 37; his wife, Laura, 42, and sons, Jaden, 7; and Eli, 5; all got out of the plane and used the restroom during the refueling stop. Enders had a GoPro camera attached to the dashboard of his vintage aircraft. NTSB investigators have that camera and its images to augment their investigation.

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