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Tampa jewelry store owner dies in South Carolina plane crash

Andrew Meyer, owner of Continental Wholesale Diamonds, was alone in a Cessna when it crashed near the Charleston Executive Airport, officials said.

The owner of a Tampa jewelry store died Saturday in a plane crash in South Carolina.

Andrew Meyer, owner of Continental Wholesale Diamonds, was attempting to land a Cessna 310 at the Charleston Executive Airport about 7 p.m. when the plane crashed about a mile north of the airport, according to information released by the Federal Aviation Administration to local news outlets.

Rescue crews found the plane in a wooded area near the airport. The Charleston County Coroner’s Office on Sunday confirmed Meyer, 64, was the pilot and died from injures sustained in the crash.

The aircraft departed from Rocky Mount Airport in North Carolina and was headed to Zephyrhills Municipal Airport in Florida, FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac told WCSC-TV.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the cause of the crash.

Located on North Westshore Boulevard, Continental Wholesale Diamonds specializes in fashion and bridal jewelry. A post on the company’s Facebook page Monday paid tribute to the late owner.

“He was much loved by the Tampa Bay community and will be missed by all of us,” said the post that included a photo of Meyer holding his newborn granddaughter, Aria. “Andrew loved his work, his customers and the jewelry business. Most of all, he loved his children and was delighted when he became a grandfather last week.”

The post said the company “is working through all of this right now, please give the team some time to pull what is needed together. There will be more to come on this soon.”

A post on Andrew Meyer's Facebook page from Thursday shows him with his newborn granddaughter, Aria. Two days after the post, Meyer died when the Cessna he was piloting crashed near the Charleston Executive Airport in Charleston, S.C., authorities said. [Facebook]

As word of his death spread, friends took to Facebook to honor Meyer, praising his skill as a jeweler and his philanthropy.

“Andy was a generous, heartfelt man who gave to the community in any way he could,” friend Aimee Ensign wrote in a post. “I am blessed to have been able to call him a friend for the years we have been here in Tampa.”

Chris Logan wrote that Meyer “shared many special moments” with Logan and his wife Heather.

“He created many beautiful pieces for us through the years and his level of care when we came into the store made us feel not like customers but family,” Logan wrote.

Meyer’s philanthropy led to a bizarre incident in 2013, when a woman attending a Tampa Woman’s Club charity luncheon accidentally swallowed a one-carat diamond that had been placed in a champagne flute as part of a fundraiser. The diamond was recovered during a colonoscopy and the woman kept the prize.