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Local 10 News engineer helps pilot injured in small plane crash

Sky 10 spots wreckage while flying over western Broward County

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Local 10 employee came to the rescue of a pilot in need after the small plane he was flying crashed Monday in western Broward County.

Sky 10 was flying to another scene when pilot Clem Carfaro spotted the downed plane in the Everglades near U.S. Highway 27.

The injured pilot was trapped inside the cockpit.

Sky 10 arrived before Broward Sheriff's Office firefighters got there.

Local 10 News engineer Juan Rodriguez just happened to be on Sky 10 at the time, so the helicopter landed briefly so that Rodriguez could help the pilot.

Firefighters arrived a short time later and had to use the Jaws of Life to rescue the pilot, who was pinned under the debris. He was placed on a stretcher and flown to Broward Health Medical Center.

Rodriguez said the pilot was asking for water and complained about his leg.

"At least the guy was alive, (but) he was in a lot of pain," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez rarely travels with Sky 10, but he happened to be on the helicopter to work on its camera equipment. Carfaro stayed in touch with air traffic controllers, who had rerouted them to search for a missing plane.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Piper PA-32 crashed about 12:45 p.m. 16 miles west of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

Two Jacksonville attorneys, Robert Spohrer and Steven Browning, were also on the plane. They were walking around the crash site, suffering only minor injuries, and were taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Sporher is founding partner of Sporher & Dodd, and Browning is another partner in the law firm. The pilot, whose name was not released, regularly flies for the firm.

"The pilot did a great job from what I could see," Carfaro said. "You know, the plane was not in the canal."

Barry Newman, a partner at Sporher & Dodd, told Jacksonville television station WJXT they are lucky to have a safe and competent pilot who did everything he could to save the passengers.

"Where the plane was and how it landed, it certainly is a testament to the pilot's skill in preventing further injury or even death," BSO Department of Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said.

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