Chip Lomel left his South Tampa home Wednesday for what was supposed to be a quick flight to Memphis. He planned to return that night.
Instead, Lomel is in a Memphis hospital, recovering from a plane crash that killed the pilot and another passenger and critically injured a third.
Lomel, 39, was a passenger in the twin-engine Beechcraft piloted by prominent Tampa neurosurgeon Dr. David Cahill.
The plane flipped as it landed at Memphis International Airport.
Lomel's wife, Lowell, flew to Memphis to be with her husband, neighbor Flo Roberts said Thursday.
"He's a wonderful young man," Roberts said of Lomel.
Lomel is the group director of sales for Medtronic Sofamor Danek, a company that makes implants used in spinal surgery. He was traveling with John Murphy, a district sales manager, and Ed Brown, a sales representative. Cahill, the neurosurgeon and pilot, was joining them for a Medtronic business meeting.
"The tragic loss of Dr. Cahill and Mr. Murphy will be deeply felt among our employees," Michael DeMane, president of Medtronic Spinal, ENT and Surgical Navigation Technologies, said in a statement.
"Both were distinguished in their fields and committed to the betterment of the human condition."
Cahill, of Tampa, and Murphy, who was relocating to Tampa from Pensacola, died in the crash. Brown also is from Tampa.
The Lomels moved into their South Tampa home as newlyweds about eight years ago, Roberts said. Lomel is often outside gardening, playing basketball or frolicking with his three young children.
The Lomels set aside one night a week as a date night. They leave their children with a sitter and go out for pizza or dine at a nice restaurant, Roberts said.
Lomel was in serious condition on Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said. Brown was in critical condition.
Murphy had apparently ridden with Lomel to Peter O. Knight Airport the morning of the accident. His Lexus SUV was still parked in front of the Lomels' house Thursday.
"It's just devastating," Roberts said. "Just so sad."
_ Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.