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Pilot was Colorado man; cause of crash unknown

Published Jul. 17, 1994
Updated Oct. 7, 2005

After two hours of not hearing from the pilot he hired to deliver a single-engine Cessna to a Venice customer, aircraft salesman Barry Simpson began a search for the plane.

By the time his call got through to the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday, the plane had slammed into the Gulf of Mexico. It sank near Indian Shores.

Saturday, the FAA identified the pilot of the Cessna 172 as Douglas White, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colo. His body was found about 75 yards from where the plane crashed.

"The last time we spoke he had run into some bad weather and was going to stop and wait it out," said Simpson, the plane's former owner.

"I don't know what happened after that."

FAA investigators inspected the mangled wreckage Saturday morning but were unable to determine what caused the crash. Spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said White did not have a flight plan on board the four-seater.

Now, it will be up to investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board to find out what went wrong.

White, who was flying alone, was working for Simpson's Colorado Springs company, Barry Simpson Aircrafts Inc., when he was killed. Simpson would not disclose the name of the person in Venice who was buying the plane.

White was last seen about 4 p.m. Friday at an airport in Brooksville, where he was waiting for a spurt of bad weather to pass.

White was a Delta Air Lines ramp agent and a licensed private pilot, said Pinellas sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha.