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Tampa couple identified as survivors of jet crash at South Carolina airport

Marci Wilhelm and husband Steve Rose of Tampa were injured in a chartered plane crash in Greenville, S.C. last week. They both expected to make a full recovery, according to a public Facebook post on Rose's page. [Facebook]
Marci Wilhelm and husband Steve Rose of Tampa were injured in a chartered plane crash in Greenville, S.C. last week. They both expected to make a full recovery, according to a public Facebook post on Rose's page. [Facebook]
Published Oct. 4, 2018

A Tampa health care executive and her husband were the two passengers who survived a jet crash in Greenville, S.C. that killed the pilot and co-pilot last week.

Marci Wilhelm and husband Steve Rose were on board the Dassault Falcon 50 that rolled off the runway and crashed after landing at the Greenville Downtown Airport on Sept. 27, according to Susan Salka, president and CEO of AMN Healthcare.

AMN purchased MedPartners, the Tampa-based health care staffing firm Wilhelm founded, for $195 million earlier this year, according to a news release at the time. Wilhelm stayed on as CEO.

"We are more than co-workers at AMN — we are family," Salka said in the statement. "Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the pilots who lost their lives in the accident, and right now everyone at MedPartners and AMN Healthcare is focused on doing all we can — both personally and at work — to help Marci and Steve as they heal. It will take patience and hard work, but fortunately both are expected to make a strong recovery."

After rolling off the runway, the jet plunged down a grassy embankment and came to rest on a road. The fuselage split into two pieces behind the cockpit.

Rose posted a public update on his Facebook page Wednesday saying he and Wilhelm were involved in "a chartered plane crash" and have "significant injuries that will take long recoveries" but doctors are optimistic both will make a full recovery.

"It's nothing short of a miracle!!!!!" the post said. "We are overwhelmed by the thoughts, prayers, and offers of assistance from all over the country and beyond. You are all truly amazing. THANK YOU!!!

In the post, Rose and Wilhelm offered sympathies to the families of the two men killed in the crash, pilot John Christian Caswell of Port St. Lucie and co-pilot Stephen George Fox of Indian Rocks Beach.

Fox, 66, owned two flight services companies, Clearwater Aviation and Air America Flight Services, that provide charters and pilot training. Clearwater Aviation is a sub-tenant at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

The couple's Facebook post thanked friends and family who helped protect the couple's identity in the days after the crash. Federal and local authorities had refused to name the couple.

"We have actually had a few smiles over being referred to as 'Unnamed married couple' for the last five days," the post says. "There may be a tattoo in that somewhere down the road."

"We are in a marathon not a sprint," the post concludes. "Our goal is to get healthy enough to travel and then make our way back to Tampa to finish recovery. We look forward to seeing you all then."

Federal authorities have said the flight originated from St. Petersburg. The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash. A preliminary report is expected later this month.

The Times reported this week that federal records show neither pilot was qualified to fly the Falcon 50.

Florida pilots killed in South Carolina crash lacked certification to fly private jet

Caswell had "second-in-command privileges only" for a Falcon 50 jet, meaning he could only fly that type of jet as a co-pilot with someone who has a pilot-in-command rating, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's Airmen Registry.

No Stephen Fox or Stephen George Fox in the registry has a pilot-in-command or second-in-command rating for the Falcon 50, FAA records show. The records also indicate Fox was certified only as a private pilot, which means he wouldn't be legally permitted to pilot or co-pilot a chartered flight. And the records show Fox was certified only for visual flight and didn't have the rating required to fly an aircraft like the Falcon 50 under instrument flight rules.

Contact Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.