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 May 15th, 2010  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara releases details on late morning plane crash in ocean east of St. Lucie County
 
A late-morning airplane crash in the Atlantic Ocean east of St. Lucie County claimed the lives of the pilot and his passenger, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

"The Pilot was Donald T. Hopkin, 60 (DOB 11/19/49), who lived in Fort Lauderdale and was a part-time resident of Jensen Beach," Sheriff Mascara said. "The passenger was James B. Doom, 39 (DOB 5/1/71), of North Palm Beach."

Their bodies were recovered about 150 yards east of Nettles Island (9800 block of South Ocean Drive, St. Lucie County) in 10 - 15 feet of water, Sheriff Mascara said.

The tail number of the YAK-52 airplane is N-6868-Y.

At about 11:45 this morning, St. Lucie County emergency operators received several calls about a small plane crashing into the ocean. Pilots aboard a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office helicopter returning to that county from a funeral in Indian River County witnessed the crash and notified the U.S. Coast Guard station in Fort Pierce.

The pilots then stayed in the area until the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit, Dive Team and Aviation Unit arrived, along with detectives, Sheriff Mascara said.

Deputies removed the bodies of the two victims who were strapped in the cockpit of the plane.

Deputies marked the wreckage with a buoy and notified the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. * * *

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