Updated 6:05 pm.
ALTHA, Fla. (WMBB) — The investigation continued Wednesday into the plane crash that killed two people and left two others seriously injured in this close-knit community.
Calhoun County Sheriff’s officials said the privately-owned plane was taking off from the Calhoun County Airport at about 4:40 p.m. when it crashed.
The crash happened shortly after takeoff and near the airport.
William ‘Randy’ McCroan and Steve Mears Jr. were killed in the crash.
“I first met Randy when I was gosh, single digits,” Blountstown Fire Chief Ben Hall said. “He and my brother were such good friends and went to college together. Were roommates for a while. And when Randy got into law enforcement you know it was cool having somebody that was kind of like a big brother that was in it.”
McCroan retired Tuesday shortly before the plane crash. McCroan’s son Greyson, and his friend Devin Ferrell were also in the plane when it crashed. They were transported to the hospital, and are in critical condition.
“His son had just graduated from college and he indicated he was going to spend some time with him in the next couple of days,” Calhoun County Superintendent Darryl Taylor said of his last conversation, on Tuesday, with McCroan.
Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel said McCroan was a deputy and a pilot who flew helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Mears was a former law enforcement officer and a business owner.
“He owned a local company here in Calhoun County, and other counties also. Very active in the community,” Kimbrel said.
According to FAA records the plane was a fixed-wing single-engine Cessna that was manufactured in 1956.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are now both investigating the incident.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.