At least two people, maybe four, died in Sunday's private plane crash in Rockbridge County. Onboard was a couple from Tampa, Florida heading home from New York. according to family, the pilot was the former CEO of the Checkers Drive-In restaurant chain, Daniel Dorsch, and his wife Cyndie. Authorities say there are no survivors. They are waiting for the medical examiner to determine whether there were two or four people onboard.
We're told Dorsch was an experienced pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience. Authorities say Dorsch reported losing an exterior panel shortly before the aircraft hit the ground about 10:30 a.m. on a farm owned by Virginia Tech in Rockbridge County. Federal investigators say the plane went into a steep vertical descent and fragmented on impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration say the Pilatus PC-12 originated at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and was going to Tampa Executive Airport in Florida. Crews at the Teterboro Airport in New Jersey told NTSB investigators that four people boarded the plane.
Investigators will likely be on the scene in Rockbridge County for three or four days.
Dorsch helped turn around Checkers as CEO from 1999 to 2003. He also owned several Papa John's Pizza franchise stores and a motorsports dealership in the Tampa area.