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The pilot killed in the small-airplane crash Saturday in East Naples was a Marco Island resident.

Bill Gaston Sr., 71, died piloting a twin-engine plane from Key West. He was on his way  to the Naples Airport. The scheduled hourlong flight ended just 5 miles from the airport, when the airplane crashed near a home in the 4900 block of Hawthorn Woods Way.

The plane was following the planned flight path until the final runway approach, according to flight-tracking website flightaware.com.

His son, Bill Gaston Jr., said his father had plenty of flight experience.

“He’s been a pilot since he was 16,” Gaston Jr. said. “He’s got plenty of flight hours.”

Previously: Pilot dies after small plane crashed Saturday in Naples

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the crash investigation and had not released any information from it by mid-afternoon Sunday. However, Gaston Jr. said a medical crisis could have caused the crash.

“As another pilot, I would say it was health-related, based on how it crashed,” he said.

Gaston Jr. said his father was in good health and had regular checkups.

The plane, a 1964 Piper Twin Comanche, passed its yearly inspection, Gaston Jr. said.

Gaston Jr. said his father was in communication with air traffic controllers throughout the flight. No distress call was made, Gaston Jr. said. The airplane went down in a wooded area just east of Santa Barbara Boulevard and just south of Pine Ridge Road.

The plane was severely damaged in the crash, said Jamie Mosbach, a spokeswoman for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

No agency has stated whether another passenger was aboard, but Gaston Jr. does not think anyone else was on the flight.

His father regularly took friends and relatives on trips to Key West and the Bahamas.

After selling his business, Marco Island Cable, to Summit Broadband in 2013, Gaston Sr. spent much of his time boating and flying. He flew for 45 years.

“He was doing what he loved,” Gaston Jr. said.

Gaston Sr. had lived on Marco Island since 1984.

 

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