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Tampa man was among those on plane that crashed in Gulf of Mexico

TAMPA — The Tampa man killed in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday was Mysela "Mike'' Parks, a 44-year-old media production manager for McNichols Co., a spokeswoman for the Tampa steel company said Friday.

Parks had worked at McNichols for 11 years, producing corporate training and promotional videos that have been watched by thousands of customers and employees, said Sarah Morris, the company spokeswoman.

"Mike has been an exemplary employee for more than a decade, and he was well-liked by all the staff here at McNichols," company president Herb Goetschius wrote in a prepared statement. "This is a tragedy that will be felt by Mike's loving family and friends and his close-knit family here at McNichols forever."

Parks was among five people aboard a Cessna bound for Tampa International Airport from Texas that crashed about 20 miles west of Port Richey.

Reached at her mother's home Friday, Parks' ex-wife, Karla Lewis, said she learned about his death on television and was still in shock.

In an e-mail message, Lewis wrote: "The only thing I'd like to say is that he will be missed."

Headquartered in Tampa, McNichols Co. was founded in 1952. It fabricates perforated and expanded metal, wire cloth and flooring to customers worldwide. It has 22 locations in the United States and Canada, including 17 service centers and five field offices.

Morris declined to comment beyond the company's prepared statement and employees were asked not to speak with the media.

The others aboard the plane were identified as 40-year-old Roland Schurrer, president of Quality Powder Coating in Carrollton, Texas, 33-year-old Steve Barrows, a marketing representative and company pilot, and employee Jeff Byron.

Greg Arceneaux of Dallas also was on the plane, officials said. He did not work for the Texas company, which coats metal products.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all the passengers involved in the accident," Goetschius wrote.

The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office must compare relatives' DNA samples to fragments of human remains found in the gulf.

Two dogs, believed to belong to Schurrer and Barrows, also may have been on the plane, officials said.

The plane is registered to Q4 Aviation LLC of Carrollton, which also goes by the name Quality Powder Coating.

Quality Powder spokesman Andy Brown said those on the plane were headed to a meeting in Florida for a couple of days.

The twin-engine Cessna 421 left from Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, Texas, at about 10 a.m. Central Standard Time. A Jacksonville air traffic controller lost contact with the plane about 3 p.m. Eastern time.

Forecasters reported several thunderstorms in the area at the time the plane went down.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman J. Lynn Luns­ford said the pilot of the plane "reported heavy turbulence, loss of control and inverted flight" while flying at about 5,000 feet.

Lunsford said Barrows had no accidents or enforcement actions on his record.

The Coast Guard called off the search for survivors of the crash Thursday afternoon.

Times staff writer Steven Overly contributed to this report.

Tampa man was among those on plane that crashed in Gulf of Mexico 07/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 11:21am]
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