FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Emergency responders recovered three bodies from the wreckage of a plane that crashed shortly after departing Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on Friday afternoon, according to Fort Lauderdale Mayor John "Jack" Seiler.
The plane crashed at 964 NE 53rd Court, an area east of the airport, about 4:23 p.m. Roadways were shut down near the area.
"The only silver lining out of this thing is we didn't lose any lives on the ground," said Seiler. "But three people perished. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family."
The victims' names had not yet been released Saturday morning though family members have identified two passengers as father and son, Wallace and Kenneth Watson of Boca Raton.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said an investigator should arrive in Fort Lauderdale by Saturday.
According to the FAA, the plane departed Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport at 4:20 p.m. and crashed shortly afterward.
Fort Lauderdale spokesman Matt Little said the plane took off, banked right, and crashed into several parked vehicles. He believes the plane is Fort Lauderdale based.
Little said no one on the ground was injured.
Dozens of firefighters were there dousing the area in special foam used to extinguish fires sparked by jet fuel. Several vehicles were on fire. A propeller was seen in the parking lot.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Division Chief John San Angelo said seven vehicles and a boat were on fire when firefighters arrived.
A man who works for RJ Asset Recovery, near where the plane crashed, said it missed two people working outside by yards.
Tracy Knowles, who owns R.J. Asset Recovery, said he was outside when the piper went down into his lot.
"It just happened so fast. I heard the engines, turned around, and saw it come through the trees," he said.
"How far away was the plane from you?" asked Local 10's Janine Stanwood.
"Fifty feet," Knowles said.
According to firefighters, seven repossessed cars and a boat that were in his lot were damaged by fire. Neither Knowles nor any of the other three employees was injured.
Another man who works for UK Stone, a business inside the warehouse, said he heard a loud bang and saw 50-foot flames.
A woman said her husband, who works at the airport, saw the plane depart, then saw smoke minutes later. Several witnesses said the plane fell out of the sky like a stone.
Fort Lauderdale officials reported the plane was a Cheyenne II twin-engine turboprop plane; the Federal Aviation Administration said it was a Piper PA-31 Navajo.
--A Piper PA-31 Navajo
Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport serves smaller planes.
A large plume of black smoke could be seen in the area. Several viewers sent pictures to Share@local10.com show it.Viewer photos of plane crash smoke
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