Federal investigators are leading a probe of a private plane crash that killed a Florida veterinarian and his wife last week.

Dr. Harvey Partridge and his wife Patricia, both 72, died when their Piper PA32 crashed about 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 on approach to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Dr. and Mrs. Partridge were residents of Terra Ceia, Florida, and owned the Partridge Animal Hospital in St. Petersburg.

The plane was discovered in a heavily wooded part of William B. Umstead State Park the following morning. Rescuers from several state and local agencies started combing the densely wooded 5,600-acre state park after air controllers lost contact with the plane. Authorities closed the park until officials secured the site of the plane crash.

Friends and acquaintances of the Partridges told the Associated Press and other media outlets that Dr. Partridge was a highly experienced pilot who had been flying planes for decades. He was also regarded as a compassionate vet whose love for animals made him a “wonderful doctor and advocate.”

“Dr. Harvey Partridge was the kind of veterinarian who put his home number in the phone book,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. He also took calls any time of day and night and recently used the same airplane to fly an ailing rescue dog to Gainesville for life-saving surgery, according to the AP.

“He was just so compassionate. Just an amazing veterinarian. It’s a devastating loss, a huge loss for humanity,” Jaime McKnight, who runs a St. Petersburg pet rescue and used to work at the Partridge Animal Hospital, told the AP.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent investigators to the site to begin an investigation of the single-engine plane crash.

Mike Andrews, a lawyer in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability section, focuses much of his practice on aviation accident litigation. He has represented people seriously injured in aviation crashes, and the family of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes. Currently, Mike represents family members of victims in the Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Additional source: Raleigh-Durham International Airport

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