Two married couples flying from Fort Lauderdale to Virginia were killed on October 10, 2013 when the twin-propeller Cessna 340 they were flying in crashed into the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia. The plane was flown by Theodore “Ted” Bradshaw, a retired firefighter with over 30 years of experience as a pilot. The passengers were Bradshaw’s wife, Mary Anne, Charles Rodd and his wife Diane Rodd of Palm Beach, Florida.
The Cessna took off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on Thursday morning and was scheduled to arrive at Hampton Roads executive airport four hours later, but never arrived; the last radar contact was with Norfolk Tower at noon when the plane was over the swamp. It took authorities two days to locate the wreckage using hired helicopters, as much of the Dismal Swamp area is inaccessible by wheeled vehicle. Local authorities plan to use bulldozers to create temporary roads for four-wheel-drive vehicles to retrieve the plane’s wreckage and the remains of the pilot and passengers.
The Great Dismal Swamp is almost 1,000,000 acres large and is a National Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the last large-scale swaths of untouched wilderness in the United States, and has had no development whatsoever, not even access roads. As a result, there is almost no way to get to a location within the swamp except by shallow-water boat (with limited access) or by plane.
The Cessna 340 was developed from the popular Cessna 310 and is no longer in production, though a large number of the planes remain in use today by private pilots. It seats up to six; when introduced in the 1970s the main selling point was the large pressurized cabin, an unusual feature for a small plane at the time.
Ted Bradshaw retired as Assistant Chief of the Sunrise Golf Village in 2005, and is remembered as an adventurous man who championed new technologies for the fire department. No details have been released regarding the purpose of the flight or the cause of the crash.