Seven family members die in Alabama plane crash

BIRMINGHAM, Ala Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:10pm EDT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (Reuters) - Investigators on Monday were at the site of a small plane crash in western Alabama, where seven family members died returning home from a family reunion.

The plane crashed Saturday night in a densely wooded area of Demopolis, said National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Nicholas Worrell.

Marengo County Coroner Stuart Eatmon confirmed that Fred Teutenberg, 42, and his wife Terresa, 36, died in the crash along with five of their children: Will, 10; Brendon, 9; Ellie, 6; Peyton, 4; and Emma, 2.

Eatmon said the family was headed home to the Florida Panhandle after a family reunion in St. Louis, wanting to be back for church on Sunday.

Fred Teutenberg radioed the Meridian, Mississippi airport to report engine trouble, the coroner said.

"I thought I had seen it all, up until this. I've seen small plane crashes with one person, but not a whole family," said Eatmon, who was a paramedic for 23 years.

Eatmon said Terresa Teutenberg also had a teenage daughter, who was sick and could not fly on Saturday.

The daughter lives in St. Louis and was planning to join her mother and stepfather in Florida, the coroner said.

The crash site is accessible only by all-terrain vehicle, Worrell said.

"It's been difficult to speak with investigators because the plane is about four miles into the woods, and cell phone communications are difficult," Worrell said.

(Reporting by Peggy Gargis; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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