Doctor dies in plane crash involving Charlotte-based charter

The house that was hit by the plane. (Source: WFMY)
The house that was hit by the plane. (Source: WFMY)

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — The passenger killed when a chartered plane crashed into a house in High Point was Thomas W. Littlejohn III, a physician and medical research specialist from Winston-Salem, his brother confirmed Thursday.

Littlejohn was a physician at Maplewood Family Practice and served as president of PMG, a clinical research firm with offices in two states.

"He was flying on company business," said the brother, Roger Littlejohn, of Advance, N.C.

The doctor was returning from a chartered air trip to Wilmington when the plane went down near the Piedmont-Triad International Airport. PMG has offices in Winston-Salem, Wilmington and seven other locations in North Carolina and Tennessee.

The only other occupant of the plane was the pilot, whose name has not been released. The people in the house escaped without injury.

Thomas Littlejohn was a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was married to Margaret Littlejohn and was the father of six children, his brother said.

Terry Williams of the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators will be at the crash scene Thursday to try to piece together what happened to cause the crash at about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The plane was heading for Winston-Salem but was rerouted to Greensboro because of bad weather, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta. The National Weather Service reported heavy fog in the area at the time, with visibility as low as a quarter mile.

The Beechcraft Baron 58 model aircraft was registered to Jet Logistics, a Charlotte-based charter company. A company spokesman declined to release information about the pilot or other details of the ill-fated flight.

In a statement on the company website, Jet Logistic officials said: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy."

The plane crashed on the north side of High Point near the city limits with Greensboro, local authorities said. The plane was flying from Wilmington to Winston-Salem but was diverted to Greensboro because of bad weather,

Carl Hall Jr., whose home is about 150 feet from where the plane went down, said he saw an engine in the middle of the street and the fuselage of the plane sticking out of the back of a home.

Hall's wife, Angie, saw a man bring two boys and a girl out of the front of the house, away from the garage where the plane hit. "They weren't in that area," Carl Hall said. "That's probably what saved them."

Angie Hall said the children, who were shaken up, were taken to a neighbor's home.

Denita Lynn of the High Point Fire Department said the structure was destroyed by flames following the crash.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.