Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was killed when his ICON A5 plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday November 7. Photos of the damaged plane captured its tail number, and videos from the crash scene showed it was upside down in the water.
Halladay’s Twitter profile picture shows him in a plane, and the aircraft is his cover photo as he constantly showed it off. CBS Tampa affiliate’s Ryan Bass reported, “Tail number of aircraft that crashed into Gulf does match Roy Halladay’s plane” and authorities later confirmed Halladay’s death. Halladay was the only person who was killed in the plane crash. “He loved to fly,” Sheriff Chris Nocco said to Fox News of Halladay, noting that he was “an eight-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner.”
The Phillies released a statement, saying, “We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay’s untimely death. There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings ever to play the game. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we pass along our condolences to Brandy, Ryan and Braden.”
Photos of the crash scene circulated. According to Bay News 9, “The Pasco Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit responded to the small aircraft down in the Gulf north of Bailey’s Bluff in Holiday. The Sheriff’s Office said it received the call just after noon Tuesday. At 3 p.m., officials said the plane was still ‘upside down in shallow water’ and that recovery efforts were continuing.” It wasn’t clear initially whether more than one person was in the plane, either.
“I have dreamed about owning a A5 since I retired! Real life is better then my dreams!! Thx Kirk & everyone @ICONAircraft” Halladay wrote on Twitter with photos of the aircraft in October. He also recently wrote, “What do clouds feel like? I didn’t know either until I got my new Icon A5! I’m getting bruises on my arms from constantly pinching myself!” That video from October 13 showed him flying amidst the clouds. In October, he also wrote, “I’m really not big on posting pic’s of my stuff and I’ll never be on Cribs… but this A5 is so outrageous I’d feel guilty not sharing pics!”
According to The Sporting News, “The man inevitably nicknamed “Doc” finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five other times in a career that saw him establish himself as one of the foremost rotation workhorses in the game. He compiled at least 220 innings in a season eight times.” He was also remembered for pitching a perfect game in 2010. USA Today reported of the tragedy, “The Pasco Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit responded to a call at noon ET that a single-engine, light-sport category aircraft had crashed. The county’s fire department and U.S. Coast Guard also responded.”
In a 2017 press release, ICON said it had delivered the aircraft to Halladay: “ICON Aircraft delivered the first Model Year 2018 (MY18) A5 to former Major League Baseball pitcher, Roy Halladay. Halladay, who pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, has been a regular ICON A5 renter and longtime deposit holder. In addition to having all MY18 upgrades, Halladay’s A5 is the first of 100 specially equipped Founders Edition (A5 FE) aircraft to be built. It is also the first A5 with airframe structures manufactured entirely at ICON’s new in-house composites manufacturing facility,” the company wrote.
Halladay has tweeted many photos and videos of the aircraft, showing it off. “I keep telling my dad flying the Icon A5 low over the water is like flying a fighter jet! His response….. I am flying a fighter jet!!” he wrote with one tweet. In November another man tweeted, “Captain @RoyHalladay took me on my first plane ride today! Great time flying!” Halladay retweeted the man’s post.
He also recently tweeted a photo showing him as the aircraft’s pilot. Halladay also filmed a promotional video when he received the plane. In May 2016, he wrote, “Flying or boating??? Who cares I love them both!! Icon A5 dream machine!! Jimmy Buffet you need one of these!!!” He shared a video while flying, writing, “Now this is FLYING!! Love this airplane!! The Icon A5!! If you fly or ever dreamed of flying this is your airplane!! – at Lake Berryessa Lupine Resort.”
The blurb with the video reads, “Roy Halladay has been passionate about flying his entire life. As a Major League Baseball player however, he was contractually prevented from getting his pilot’s license. When he retired in 2013, he finally fulfilled his lifelong dream, and in October of 2017, he became the owner of a particularly significant ICON A5. Roy’s aircraft, serial number 22, is the first model year 2018 A5, the first Founders Edition aircraft, and the first A5 whose airframe was built in-house at ICON’s new composites manufacturing facility in Baja California. Watch the highlights from his visit together with wife Brandy to ICON’s headquarters in Vacaville to see their new A5.”
The promotional video has now been taken down. However, here’s a copy of it:
On social media, people offered well wishes and prayers for Halladay, calling him a Phillies legend.
This post will be updated as more is learned about the occupants of the plane.