Last Sunday afternoon, a two-engine plane crashed into a nature preserve north of the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, after the pilot had made a distress call, reporting smoke in the cockpit. All four people on board were killed and are yet to be identified.
The 1979 Piper Cheyenne PA-31T1 took off from Orlando Executive Airport at about 3:20pm Sunday and reached an altitude of 8,000 feet en route to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport before the tragic accident. “He was given clearance to land, any runway he chose, because he did make a distress call,” said Ralph Hicks, senior accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Information suggests that the pilot attempted to land on a runway aiming to the southeast, but the turboprop never made it. It dove toward the ground, crashed and burst into flames in a wooded area about a quarter of a mile northwest of the runway. According to Hicks, the aircraft fragmented into more than 100 pieces.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue responded within minutes, however, they were unable to save any of the passengers. No one on the ground was injured. Firefighters encountered a big column of black smoke when they reached the scene, Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Heiser said, the Miami Herald reported.
Elyssa Service, 22, saw the crash as she played Ultimate Frisbee nearby, the Herald reported. “I heard it and then we looked over and there was smoke, and about 10 of us ran over there to help,” said Service, an American Airlines flight attendant. “The smoke was too big, and by the time that we had gotten there, it was engulfed from the inside out.”
Bobby Bemis, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, who also was playing Frisbee, said the plane banked sharply and then dove at high speed toward the ground before crashing loudly, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
“I heard a big boom and I felt the building shake and I looked through the window and saw smoke and said to myself, ‘I hope it’s not a plane that crashed there,'” said Jean Menzion Deshommes, who was working in an office building at 2400 W. Cypress Creek Rd, the Sun Sentinel reported.
According to Flight Aware, the 7 seat aircraft was registered to Aircraft Guaranty Corp Trustee, a Texas corporation. There has not been a deadlier plane crash in South Florida since November 2013, when an air ambulance Learjet flight crashed in the Atlantic Ocean after takeoff from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, killing all four on board.
Pursuant to the NTSB, in 2012 there were 1,471 general aviation accidents from a total of 1,537 accidents, resulting in 273 fatal accidents. These are the most recent statistics available. Below is a clip of CBS Miami’s report of the accident.
If you or any person you know has been a victim or has lost a beloved due to an airplane accident, do not hesitate to call the attorneys at Friedland Law Group. Attorney Jonathan Friedland and his team handle all types of negligence, product liability, personal injury, negligent security, slip/trip and fall, and car accident and airplane accident cases throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys today and let our family take care of your family.