Pilot inexperience may have been factor in Fort Lauderdale plane crash

Family of 4 from Suriname killed in April 12 crash

Four people were killed in a plane crash in a nature preserve near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The inexperience of the pilot may have contributed to a Fort Lauderdale plane crash that killed a family of four from South America.

A preliminary report released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board notes that John Van Ommeren completed an initial training course to fly the twin-engine Piper PA-31 one week prior to the April 12 crash.

Van Ommeren, 51, his wife, Monique Van Ommeren, 49, and their two daughters, Sacha Van Ommeren, 16, and Sharissa Van Ommeren, 13, were killed in the crash. They lived in Paramaribo, Suriname, on the northeastern coast of South America.

The plane, built in 1979, departed from Orlando Executive Airport and was making its final approach to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport when it crashed into a nature preserve.

According to the report, the pilot initially didn't report any problems during the flight, but shortly after being cleared for landing, he reported smoke in the cockpit.

Aircraft maintenance records indicated that an annual inspection of the plane was completed days earlier on April 3.

According to the report, John Van Ommeren reported having 1,221 hours of flight time on his most recent Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate, dated Feb. 18.

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