Sunday's foggy quiet was broken for Janet Halliday when her 23-year-old nephew, Matthew Davis, burst through the door with grim news.
"An airplane just went over the house," Davis told Halliday. "The engine quit, then started, then sputtered and quit again. I thought it might hit the house but it banked and headed toward the base."
Halliday soon heard the sirens coming their way. After turning on her police scanner, she learned the plane had gone missing. She and her family went out and found the search party to try and point them in the right direction.
The wreckage of the plane, a Piper PA-28a single engine fixed wing airplane, which vanished off radar after an emergency call was placed to the control tower on Dover Air Force Base sometime around 7:35 p.m. Sunday evening, was found about two hours later in a brush field by members of the Little Creek Fire Company on White Oak Road in Dover, east of Del. Route 1.
The pilot of the plane and sole occupant, Dr. Clifford Turen, an orthopaedic trauma surgeon for Bayhealth, was found dead at the scene, police said.
Bayhealth officials released a statement Monday afternoon identifying the pilot as Turen, and expressing their sadness in the news of his death.
"Dr. Turen was an exceptional orthopaedic surgeon, a passionate teacher, a strong leader and visionary," said Gary Siegelman, Bayhealth's senior vice president and chief medical officer in a prepared statement. "He was also a friend and a colleague. He will be sorely missed."
According to Bayhealth officials, Turen joined the staff at Bayhealth in 2011 after leaving the Georgia Orthopaedic Trauma Institute, where he worked as director and chair. He previously served for 20 years at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he served as chief of orthopaedic trauma and fellowship director for the orthopaedic traumatology fellowship.
Turen also served 28 years as a commander in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve and was selected to the presidential medical support team for President George H.W. Bush during Turen's time on active duty.
The cause of the plane crash is still being investigated. Despite the fact that the Delaware State Police instructed that all inquiries regarding that incident be referred to Capt. Tim Stump of the Dover Police Department, Stump deferred any questions to the FAA, who has handed the investigation over to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB has not released any further information in regards to the crash.