A Piper Navajo crashed near the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on March 15 about 4:30 p.m. The small twin-engine turboprop plane had just taken off from the airport when it started to have engine problems. The pilot attempted to turn the aircraft around to make an emergency landing, but was unable to return to the airport. The plane clipped a fence and tree before crashing into a repossessed auto lot located near the airport.

The smoke was so intense that firefighters responding to the scene had difficulty locating the wreckage. The pilot and two passengers on the plane were killed. No one on the ground was injured but several cars were burned.
Images taken after the fire was put out showed a smoldering pile of debris that was covered in foam used by the firefighters to combat the flames. About 40 firefighters were used to get the fire under control.

Vehicles that weren’t touched by the flames were streaked with soot, as was a nearby building. A spokesman for the local fire department said that the scene resembled a burned up junk yard. The mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Jack Seiler, said the crash was a terrible tragedy, but he was surprised there were no buildings damaged when the plane crashed.

The owner and an employee of R.J. Asset Recovery were in the lot when the eight-seater airplane crashed. Neither was injured, but reported that the plane was immediately consumed by a fireball when the tragedy occurred. The men reported that they heard several explosions right after the plane hit.

While a definitive cause of the tragedy is not known at this time, plane crashes often occur because of pilot error, mechanical failure, or manufacturing defect. When these tragedies happen, the families of victims who paid the ultimate price need to be represented by an experienced attorney who has successfully litigated aviation cases.

Source:  newsday.com, “http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/small-plane-crashes-near-fort-lauderdale-airport-3-dead-1.4822651,” Kelli Kennedy, 15 March 2013