A pilot died over the weekend after he crashed his plane in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. According to federal aviation officials, seventy-five-year-old Paul S. Soulé had radioed a tower before the crash about equipment problems. A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, Peter Knudson, stated that Soulé, a Fruitland Park resident, warned tower officials about the equipment. Knudson could not provide any further details at the time. Knudson said crash investigators are reviewing audio tapes and flight records from prior to the incident. The investigation continued throughout the day today. The NTSB and FAA expect to release a preliminary report of the crash sometime next week.
Soulé left Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Saturday morning around 9:45 a.m. to head home, but his Cessna 340A crashed to the ground about twenty minutes later in a swampy marsh about twenty miles west of Boynton Beach. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue received calls about the crash at about 1:25 in the afternoon. They responded to the scene, along with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, using airboats. The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration have collected the plane’s engine from the swamp, but the remainder of the plane will be gathered and removed on Tuesday.
Soulé had more than fifty years of experience flying aircraft and he was a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and pilot. Soulé maintained a website that stated he had logged over 18,000 flight hours without an incident. He did have a close call in March when his landing gear failed and he was forced to make an emergency landing. Two years ago there was another crash in the refuge. Ryan Ruano and his cousin Sean McLeod died on November 13, 2011 when their 2008 Cirrus SR-22 crashed.
Pilot in deadly plane crash in wildlife refuge had radioed bout equipment problems, officials say, www.palmbeachpost.com June 10, 2013
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