K4QO - October 20,2009

James R 'Randy' Hargenrader
BennettsVille, SC
QCWA # 29782
ex K3QO, WJ4P and WA3KRG

K4QO - Randy C6APR team killed in tragic accident

The C6APR team, consisting of Pete, W2GJ, Ed, K3IXD, Randy K4QO and Dallas W3PP were all killed this morning (Wednesday) as their aircraft crashed on take-off from Summerville Airport, SC on their way to Crooked Island, Bahamas. (Pete, W2GK was also a QCWA member)

They were on their way to operate in the CQWW contest this weekend.

JEDBURG, SC -- An experienced pilot who volunteered to fly mercy air ambulance trips and introduced young people to flying was one of four people killed in a fiery plane crash Wednesday when their aircraft fell from the pre-dawn sky seconds after takeoff.

The cause of the accident at the Dorchester County Airport remains under investigation.

The four men were heading to St. Lucie County International Airport in Ft. Pierce, Fla., officials said. That was to be their U.S. Customs and Border Protection clearance destination ahead of flying to a ham radio operators' convention in the Bahamas.

K4QO - James R 'Randy' Hargenrader Killed in the crash was the pilot and plane owner, Peter Radding of North Charleston, reported to be in his mid- to late 60s. He was a pilot for at least 40 years and was described as being meticulous about his plane.

W2GJ - Peter Radding Also killed was James Randolph Hargenrader, 55, of Summerville. He was the front-seat passenger and a licensed pilot. The other victims were passenger Edwin Steeble of Summerville, also in the 55-65 year range, and Dallas Carter, in the same age category, of Laurel, Del.

Radding's 1976 Piper PA-23 took off from the airport's Runway 24 at 6:28 a.m., heading south. It quickly veered off course and crashed into a low-lying, thickly wooded area adjacent to the airfield, some 50 yards off the runway.

A resident living near the field reported the crash, saying she had heard a loud explosion. The plane burst into flames, responders said.

The crash site left charred foliage in the woods around the plane, Dorchester County Administrator Jason Ward said.

"It was extremely dark and that's why it was difficult to locate" the crash site, Ward said. Wreckage was strewn in a roughly 60-yard radius.

The plane was found in the woods, upside down, though it is unclear if it landed that way or rolled after its first crash with trees and the ground. Authorities had to wait for fire suppressant foam to evaporate before they could confirm the total number of victims. Workers are also searching for one of the plane's two propellers.