Victims in Pompano Beach plane crash identified

NTSB investigators question witnesses about crash

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POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – The Broward Sheriff's Office has identified the names of three people who were burned after a small plane crashed into a house and caught fire Monday afternoon in Pompano Beach.

Geoffrey White, Silvia Coello Mena and Fernando Quispe Diaz were injured after the Beechcraft 76 crashed into a home in the 900 block of Harbor Drive shortly after taking off from nearby Pompano Beach Airpark.

The National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the crash site Tuesday morning and confirmed that the victims were a flight instructor and two student pilots.

BSO spokeswoman Joy Oglesby said Tuesday that White, 40, was the pilot. She said Mena, 23, and Diaz, 25, were student pilots from Ecuador and Peru.

White, Mena and Diaz were taken to area hospitals to be treated for what Pompano Beach Fire Chief John Jurgle called severe burns.

All three victims were later transferred to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

A spokeswoman for the NTSB told reporters that investigators will speak to witnesses to find out the altitude of the plane at the time of the crash.

"I know they were on takeoff and, obviously, something happened," NTSB spokeswoman Leah Read said.

Jurgle said the homeowner was inside the house at the time of the crash, but he was not injured.

When the plane struck the house, it bounced over the house next door and came to a rest in the yard of the house next to that, Jurgle said.

"I think there's some very lucky people in Pompano," Jurgle said.

Witnesses said they were surprised that anyone made it out alive.

"I saw it hit and there was a fireball, and I don't know how anybody got out of it alive," one witness told Local 10. "I really don't."

The plane is registered to Florida Aviation Academy. Nobody from the school near the airpark has commented about the crash.

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