Fort Myers High School grad killed in Bartow plane crash

A 70-year-old Lakeland attorney killed in a small plane crash on Christmas Eve is remembered as kind and enthusiastic.

John Shannon was piloting a twin-engine Cessna 340 when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff at Bartow Municipal Airport in Polk County.

“He was one of the really nice guys and everybody liked him … he was very popular,” said Lydia Lowell-Sherman, a former Fort Myers High School classmate.

Shannon received his pilot license while attending Fort Myers High School in 1965.

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Shannon’s passengers included his two daughters, his son-in-law and a family friend, according to the Associated Press.

They were identified as: 24-year-old Southeastern University student Olivia Shannon, 26-year-old Baltimore teacher Victoria Shannon Worthington, 27-year-old University of Maryland law student Peter Worthington Jr. and 32-year-old Lakeland teacher Krista Clayton.

The family was headed to the Florida Keys for the Christmas holiday.

“This is just such a tragedy. It’s just awful,” Lowell-Sherman said.

Investigators believe fog played a role in the crash, but those who knew Shannon say he would have never put the lives of his family in danger.

“As long as John was flying, pilot errors to me sound just a little iffy, because he really seemed to know what he was doing with the plane and everything,” Lowell-Sherman said.

Shannon’s brother, Jerry Shannon, was vacationing in Montana when the crash took place.

“Those little girls were just starting life, that’s a huge tragic loss they’re gone so early,” Jerry Shannon said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are still investigating the crash.

Reporter:Chris Grisby
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