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911 calls released in fatal North Myrtle Beach RV park plane crash

As Federal investigators continue to search for clues as to what caused a small plane to crash into an area RV park last month, Horry County officials released calls made to 911 dispatch.

There were at least 24 telephone calls that lasted more than 20 minutes made to Horry County’s 911 dispatch about the Jan. 18 fatal crash. Witnesses to the crash called emergency officials from inside the Briarcliffe RV Resort on U.S. 17 and several miles away after seeing a plume of smoke.

“There’s explosions all over the place,” a woman located inside the park said in her call. “We’re in a bunch of motor homes here. It crashed into some motor homes and there’s fire all over the place.”

From outside the park, people driving by on U.S. 17 and those working at nearby businesses reported hearing the explosions and then seeing thick, black smoke. At least three explosions were reported by several of the callers.

“I think I just saw a plane crash,” a man said. I seen it go down and I could see the smoke. I saw it go down behind the trees.”

The crash killed the 62-year- old pilot, Kenneth Charles Thode, and 70-year-old Eva Sullivan, who was in a camper with her husband when the plane struck. Her husband, Thomas Sullivan, suffered first-degree burns. He was taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and has been released.

Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman from the Federal Aviation Administration, has said Thode crashed after a take-off maneuver he was practicing.

Thode, who received his Private Pilot, Airplane Single Engine airman certificate on Oct. 23, 2004, has no history of accidents, incidents or enforcements, according to a search of the FAA Accident/Incident Data System and Enforcement Information System.

The crash remains under investigation, and it could take up to a year before a probable cause is released, according to National Transportation Safety Board investigators.