Local News

3 dead after plane crashes near Ft. Lauderdale Airport

Posted: 03/15/13 at 6:50 pm EDT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police and fire are on the scene after a plane crashed near a South Florida airport that left at least three people dead.

7News has confirmed that the men on board included the founder of Avionics Engineering, his son, who was set to be married next week, and a test pilot.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said he was amazed no buildings were in danger. "It's a horrendous scene. The plane obviously crashed into a lot of cars and everything went up in flames. I can not be more proud of our firefighters," said Seiler. "The response time was incredible, and I think by them getting to this fire quickly, putting it out and stopping the spread of it probably saved property on the ground and probably some life on the ground."

According to police, no one on the ground was hurt, however. Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue crews responded to reports that a Cheyenne 2 twin engine turbo prop plane crashed and erupted in flames at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Friday afternoon.

At around 4:20 p.m., the plane departed from the Executive Airport as a local flight, taking off with a full tank. It banked to the right and crashed into a parking lot.

Ebbey Davis was in the area when he saw the plane coming down. "First, I heard the plane because the engine was making a noise, and that's what made me look up to see what was going on, and then I saw as the plane was turning back, I guess trying to get back to the airport," said Davis. "And when I saw it turing, the wing was going straight down, and then it landed on a curve, and it hit the building at a curve."

According to the FAA, a Piper PA31 aircraft departed from runway eight at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and crashed into a warehouse area.

According to the City of Fort Lauderdale, three people were believed to be on board. They have confirmed there were no survivors.

It appears that the plane crashed on the side of a building and came down at a repo parking lot. At least 10 cars were left charred but had no occupants.

The plane is believed to be Fort Lauderdale-based. No reports of any injuries on the ground.

7New was on the phone with mechanic Christopher Shad who witnessed the crash. He said, "He was probably 50 to 70 feet, and you only have seconds, and possibly the one engine has so much power, and you have to put down that aircraft as quickly as possible."

Firefighters have most of the flames out and are putting out hot spots. Officials have evacuated the warehouse.

A witness said he saw the plane the moment it caught on fire. "I couldn't believe it. I was amazed. I was standing outside of our shop, and the plane was banking, and you can kind of see it, and when it popped, it went right down to the ground, and it exploded," said Rick Blackburn. "The impact was so severe that there wouldn't be any survivors because of the impact."

Piper aircrafts are frequently used for training.

Officials have not released the identity of the victims pending the notification of family members. However, one witness claimed he knew the pilot and called him very experienced.

Powerline has reopened on 56th and Commercial Boulevard. Commercial appears to be open, but police are urging motorists to avoid the area.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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