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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 162976
Last updated: 27 November 2021
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Date:04-NOV-1984
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA31 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-31 Navajo
Owner/operator:private
Registration:
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Dangriga Airport -   Belize
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Illegal Flight
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Crashed on an illegal drug flight in the jungle in Belize. The US-pilot died in the crash - or did he?

On Nov. 4, 1984, people familiar with the case say, Thrasher took longer than usual to run through preflight checks. He taxied along the runway, stopped, and checked his plane again. He then got back in, poured power to the engines and climbed over the jungle. A couple of hundred feet up, an engine failed, possibly because the plane was overloaded. The plane rolled violently out of control and crashed, exploding in a fiery mixture of fuel and marijuana.

The fire blazed for hours, and Thrasher's body reportedly was burned to ashes. Thrasher's wedding ring and other personal effects were taken from his body and later given to Olga Thrasher.

Olga Thrasher doubted the death report at the time, but she now says she believes it. The only thing she questions is how the crash occurred. She said her husband was too good a pilot to have taken off overloaded.

Wallace Thrasher illegally made his money by trafficking illegal drugs during the 80s, but his organization came to an end on October 17, 1984 when one of his planes crashed with its illegal cargo in the dense Virginia wilderness. When the authorities caught wind of his illegal activities, they began collecting and mounting evidence to use in putting him in prison, but Thrasher would not wait around for that to happen.

His family claims he died in the crash, but there were suggestions he's still very much alive, either somewhere in Florida or the Caribbean. Thrasher has been sighted several times since his "death" and if he is still alive, he would be in his 70s. He is 5'10", 175 pounds, blue eyes, and brown (now probably gray) hair.

In August 2015, the case against Wallace Thrasher was formally dropped on the grounds that he is now presumed to be deceased due the accident on November 4, 1984, and that 30 years has passed without any sighting of him, or any proof of his continued existence (see links #4 & #5)

The decision to now end the case did not spring from any new information or recent event, but a routine open-case review, said Brian McGinn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

“Despite exhaustive efforts by the United States Marshal and other state and federal law enforcement agencies, Thrasher has not been located or arrested and he remains a fugitive. The available evidence suggests that Thrasher is deceased,” Giorno wrote.

Even if Thrasher is alive, he would be difficult to convict because witnesses would not be available and too much time has gone by, Giorno said.

Sources:

1. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19900323&id=KeFLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=b4sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4476,4278818&hl=en
2. https://unsolved.com/gallery/wallace-thrasher/
3. http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/Wallace_Thrasher
4. http://www.roanoke.com/news/crime/likely-dead-pilot-wallace-thrasher-won-t-be-prosecuted-on/article_371f15ac-89c1-5f1f-bbad-7b08eff75a44.html
5. http://www.roanoke.com/news/crime/montgomery_county/wallace-thrasher-federal-authorities-at-odds-of-drug-pilot-s/article_ab28010f-c0ba-5bff-b341-211fef9b9bf4.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
02-Jan-2014 17:41 gerard57 Added
15-Jun-2015 19:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
18-Jun-2015 23:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type]
04-Oct-2017 13:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Phase, Source, Narrative]
29-Oct-2019 14:57 Uli Elch Updated [Operator]
20-Mar-2021 20:25 TB Updated [Operator, Location, Destination airport]

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