BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A husband and wife were injured Sunday when the small plane in which they were traveling crashed in the Florida Everglades while attempting to make an emergency landing.
Broward Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles identified the pilot as Kenneth McKenzie. The 52-year-old Fort Lauderdale man is the former chief operating officer of Spirit Airlines. His wife, Sonia McKenzie, 50, was the only passenger in the plane.
"They had a hard hit," Jachles said. "The plane burst into flames, but they were both able to get out."
Kenneth McKenzie was taken to the burn unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Sonia McKenzie was being treated at Broward Health North.
The plane crashed shortly after taking off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
"They were hoping to fly to Lynchburg, Virginia, when, shortly after takeoff, they encountered some problems," Jachles said. "Mrs. KcKenzie told BSO deputies that she said that they had a drop in the engine oil pressure and then engine failure."
The former Canadian military pilot found an open area in the Everglades near the Sawgrass Expressway, where he attempted to land the plane.
Coral Springs Fire Department Division Chief Mike Moser said the plane was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
"The crews were able to suppress the flames using foam and water off the trucks," Moser said.
Jachles said the couple was "very lucky to be alive."
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
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