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3 Presumed Dead in S.C. Plane Crash

November 20, 2002

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BONNEAU, S.C. (AP) _ A small plane crashed into a large lake, and three people were presumed dead Wednesday as divers searched for wreckage.

The homemade plane crashed in about 50 feet of water in Lake Moultrie, about 70 miles southeast of Columbia, said Bill Salisbury, chief of the Berkley County rescue squad.

Eugene R. Ott, 72, of North Charleston, his son Vincent and family friend Bob Taylor were in the single-engine plane that was made from a kit, said Ott’s wife, Freda Turner Ott.

``I’m numb. The Lord is giving me strength. I still have hope,″ she said.

Three fishermen saw the plane crash in the lake Tuesday afternoon. Rescue teams used sonar trying to locate the main wreckage. Pieces brought to shore Tuesday night included a piece of the cockpit door with the word ``Experimental″ _ required wording for kit planes not built by a manufacturing company.

Ott, a senior partner in Sing Heating Co., often appeared in the company’s television commercials and was a member of North Charleston’s first city council in the 1970s.

Ott joined the Air Force in 1950 in hopes of becoming a pilot, but because of his vision, he became an observer in the Air Weather Service instead. He got a private license, which had less stringent vision standards, in 1958.

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