Officials receive positive identification on second victim in plane crash near Stapleton


STAPLETON, Alabama — It has been officially confirmed it was a husband and wife from Florence who were killed in a small plane crash July 28 in a wooded area near Stapleton.

Baldwin County Coroner Dr. Brian Pierce said Wednesday that his office has confirmed through dental records the identity of the woman killed in the deadly crash as 63-year-old Doris Rhodes of Florence, wife of the pilot, 65-year-old Timothy Ray Rhodes of Florence, who was identified on July 29.

Capt. Clint Cadenhead with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Central Investigations Command said the two were killed when the small plane crashed just after 7 p.m. July 28 in a heavily wooded area in the area of Mosley Road in Stapleton.

According to news media reports, the plane, a five-seat Beechcraft Bonanza owned by QT Flyers LLC based in Florence, took off from the Jack Edwards Airport in Gulf Shores at around 6:45 p.m. that day and was last seen around 7:01 p.m.

Cadenhead said BCSO received the call at around 7:15 p.m. July 28 when the crash was spotted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

Just before 8 p.m., the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office reported on social media that deputies and fire units were headed to the scene of a “general aviation plane crash.”

More than two hours later, BCSO posted that fire department units were able to make their way to the crash site by the use of ATVs.

“This was a heavily wooded area,” Cadenhead said. “There were no homes in the area and no roads leading up to the crash site, so it took crews a couple of hours to get to the site.”

Both victims were transported from the scene by ATV, then transported to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Mobile.

In addition to BCSO deputies and U.S. Coast Guard officials, Cadenhead said, officers with the Loxley Police Department, fire crews from Styx River, Loxley and Stapleton also responded to the crash.

According to the email sent by Cadenhead, investigators met with Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board the following morning. The NTSB will be the primary investigative agency handling the case, along with the Baldwin County Coroner’s Office.

No other information has been provided so far on the NTSB website.

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