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Men recall helping pilot, passenger out of plane after crash in Boca Raton

Peter Whyte, German Gomez employees at Reliable Jet Maintenance

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Two men recalled for Local 10 News on Thursday how they helped the pilot and passenger on a small plane that crashed in a parking lot next to Boca Raton Airport.

Surveillance video from nearby Reliable Jet Maintenance showed employee Peter Whyte jump out of the way as the single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff Wednesday morning.

"I realized something just flew by me real fast," Whyte said.

Whyte said he was taking out the trash when the plane crashed and skidded along the pavement, its wing coming through the fence.

"The fuel was pouring out of the wing," employee German Gomez said.

Reliable Jet Maintenance employees Peter Whyte (left) and German Gomez came to the aid of a pilot and passenger after their small plane crashed near the Boca Raton Airport.
Reliable Jet Maintenance employees Peter Whyte (left) and German Gomez came to the aid of a pilot and passenger after their small plane crashed near the Boca Raton Airport.

Gomez ran outside by Whyte when he heard the crash. Gomez, Whyte and another co-worker then sprang into action, helping the pilot and passenger out of the plane before a possible explosion.

The plane was registered to Boca Raton orthodontist Dr. Robert Eckelson. He and his passenger were pulled from the wreckage, having suffered bumps and bruises, but alive.

"I feel good knowing that we could get those guys out," Gomez said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash.


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