A Georgia family was killed in a plane crash at Florida’s Williston Municipal Airport over the weekend, police confirm. But the crash wasn’t reported to officials for 21 hours.
Pilot and father Nathan Enders, 37, his wife Laura, 42, and their two sons Jaden, 7, and Eli, 5, all perished after Nathan’s 1948 Cessna 170 crashed on the city-owned, public-use airport’s taxiway on Saturday afternoon.
The crash wasn’t discovered until Easter Sunday, when it was reported to police.
“It is so awful still, thinking of their last few moments and what was going through their minds, if they knew what was happening or felt any pain as they sat there upside down waiting 21 hours to be found,” Nathan’s sister, Megan Sabol, wrote on Facebook. “I have not been able to find peace yet as the tears will not cease…”
“I have no words. It’s still not real. I will never be the same,” she wrote in another post.
The Enders are survived by a third son who was not on the flight, according to their GoFundMe page.
Although it will take authorities several months to determined the cause of the crash, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the plane refueled in Georgia at about 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and arrived at Williston airport approximately three hours later.
The plane attempted to take off shortly after 3 p.m. but crashed just beyond the north end of the taxiway, Clay Connolly, the deputy chief of police in Williston, told the outlet.
More than 20 planes flew out of the airport on Saturday, but officials were not notified of the crash until 1:12 p.m. on Sunday.
“This is really a huge complacency issue,” Connolly told the AJC.
Nathan was an air traffic controller who worked at the FAA Terminal Radar Approach Control in Peachtree City, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told the AJC.
The family lived in Williamson, Georgia.
Nate’s sister, Megan Sabol, confirmed their deaths on her Facebook page, writing: “My brother and his family were tragically killed in a plane crash today. He was with his two boys and his wife. he was my best friend and my big brother who could survive anything. He was a controller at Atlanta Tracon and a damn good one. I will miss him everyday. I love you Nate the Great.”
A GoFundMe page for Nate’s father, James Enders, will be used for funeral costs and to set up a scholarship for the son who was not on the plane.
Sabol writes: “For those who have donated to the GoFundMe set up for Nate and Laura, you are truly amazing. I cannot thank you all enough. Wow. I imagine all the times you have hung out with their family and shared how awesome they are.”
“It’s been a couple days…… the hardest is still to come….. headed to ATL to Nate’s house to collect some of his things. Walking into that hanger where he kept his passion that killed him will hurt like hell, but what choice do I have. I miss him so much and cry all the time. It’s still not real. Please Nate, being your smile back to us….. I need you so. Bad,” Sabol wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
A service for the family will be held on April 29 at Candler Field Museum in Williamson.