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2-year-old patient killed in plane crash

Toddler was being flown by charity

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the wreckage of a small plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from the Iowa City Airport on Tuesday. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the wreckage of a small plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from the Iowa City Airport on Tuesday. (Brian Ray/The Gazette via Associated Press)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Melanie S. Welte
Associated Press / June 5, 2008

DES MOINES - A small-plane crash in Iowa City claimed the life of a Georgia toddler who was being flown home after medical treatment for clubfoot.

Two-year-old Sydney Blanton, of Thomasville, Ga., was aboard the flight arranged by Angel Flight Central Inc., an organization that provides free travel for individuals in need of healthcare. Her grandfather, Alan Harden, also of Thomasville, confirmed yesterday that she died from injuries she sustained in the crash.

Blanton was in Iowa City to be treated for clubfoot, a condition in which the foot is turned in sharply so that a person seems to be walking on an ankle.

She had been undergoing treatment at University of Iowa Hospitals for more than two years, Harden said. Doctors were treating her with a technique that uses foot manipulation and casting, not surgery, to correct the deformity.

On the most recent trip, doctors were trying to repair a ligament that was tightening up, Harden said.

Harden said his granddaughter, who would have turned 3 next month, had responded well to the treatment.

"She could run and walk, and if you'd ever see her out playing you'd never know she had any problems," he said.

The single-engine plane, a Socata TBM-700, was flying to Alabama before continuing on to Georgia. It crashed just after takeoff Tuesday morning from Iowa City Municipal Airport.

Several witnesses said the plane appeared to be flying low and traveling slowly in gusting winds.

Blanton's mother, Christina, and the pilot, Lewis Martin, of Bloomington, Ill., were injured in the crash.

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