FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The victims who were killed when a plane crashed into a nature preserve Sunday in Fort Lauderdale were identified Thursday as a family of four from South America.
Fort Lauderdale police identified the victims as John Van Ommeren, 51, his wife, Monique Van Ommeren, 49, and their two daughters, Sacha Van Ommeren, 16, and Sharissa Van Ommeren, 13. They lived in Paramaribo, Suriname, on the northeastern coast of South America.
The fatal crash occurred Sunday afternoon in a wooded area just north of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ralph Hicks said the pilot of the twin-engine Piper PA-31 was about two miles from the runway when he reported smoke in the cockpit.
The plane departed from Orlando Executive Airport.
Witnesses said the plane banked sharply before nose-diving into the ground.
Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane was built in 1979 and had recently been re-certified. It was registered to a company in Onalaska, Texas.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
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