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Four Americans killed in Bahamas plane crash

April 13, 1997 GMT

PITTSTOWN, Bahamas (AP) _ A small plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off a tiny island in the Bahamas, killing all four Americans on board, including three private pilots.

Their single-engine Beechcraft 36 slammed into a rocky shoal Saturday about 25 yards off Crooked Island about 250 miles southeast of Nassau.

``The plane went into bits and pieces. It was completely destroyed,″ said Sgt. Glen Rolle, of the Crooked Island Police Department.

The U.S. State Department identified the dead as Janet Hunter of Orlando, Fla., Frank Pocher of Hopkinton, Mass., Robert Press of Natick, Mass., and Sheldon Rothstein of Framingham, Mass.


The three businessman were pilots who had taken turns flying the craft to an air show in Lakeland, Fla., family members said. After the show ended last week, they went to the Bahamas for a couple of days.

Arnold Josey, assistant superintendent of police for the Royal Bahamas Police Force, said the cause of the crash was unknown, although it was cloudy and winds were ``choppy″ when the plane went down.

Pocher’s daughter, Laurie Rufo, said she was told the plane had engine problems and was circling back to land when it crashed.

She said Ms. Hunter had been at the same Pittstown hotel, and was catching a lift to Nassau when the plane crashed.

``My father was happiest when he was flying,″ she said. ``It’s the one consolation we have is that he went doing something he loved.″