Wal-Mart heir John Walton killed in plane crash

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

John Walton, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and the 11th richest person in the world, has been killed in a plane crash on June 27 in Wyoming. He was 58 years old. The crash occurred shortly after takeoff from Jackson Hole Airport in Grand Teton National Park at about 1:20 p.m. CDT. Walton was the only person killed in the crash.

"We're sad that John Walton, who was well-known and much-loved in this valley, died doing something that he loved to do, which was fly aircraft," said Joan Anzelmo, a spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park.

Walton was killed while flying an experimental ultra-light aircraft with small gasoline engine and wings made of material similar to sail-cloth.

Because the aircraft was unregistered and experimental, officials at the National Park indicate that there will not be an NTSB investigation. Officials at Grand Teton National Park will, however, conduct their own internal investigation.

Walton was named to the board of directors of Wal-Mart in 1992 -- he never worked for the company. He had served as a Green Beret during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Silver Star for saving the lives of several members of his unit while under fire. Walton was involved in several business interests over the years, including crop-dusting and boat construction.

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