Preliminary report on Pompano Beach plane crash provides air traffic controller accounts

NTSB report details what witnesses saw before plane crashed into house


POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board provides witness accounts of what happened in the moments before a small plane crashed into a house and caught fire last month in Pompano Beach.

The NTSB report, obtained Wednesday by Local 10 News, includes an account from one of two air traffic controllers who witnessed the twin-engine Beechcraft 76 crash April 26 shortly after it took off from Pompano Beach Airpark.

According to one controller, after the plane was cleared for takeoff, he watched the plane make a normal departure and ascend to about 400 or 500 feet before it made a sharp right turn, then a sharp left turn and began to nose dive to the ground. The plane disappeared out of sight behind a tree line, and an explosion followed.

The controller didn't hear the plane but recalled that its landing gear was retracted.

Another controller said the plane made a "hard left turn from a southerly heading to a northerly heading" with its nose pointed toward the ground. He said the plane appeared to level out shortly before he lost sight of it. He then saw fire and smoke.

Geoffrey White, Silvia Coello Mena and Fernando Quispe Diaz were injured in the crash. Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Joy Oglesby said White, 40, was the pilot, and Mena, 23, and Diaz, 25, were student pilots from Ecuador and Peru.

Pompano Beach Fire Chief John Jurgle said all three were treated for severe burns.

The homeowner was inside the house at the time of the crash, but he wasn't injured.

After 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.

The plane was registered to Florida Aviation Academy, but nobody from the school has commented about the crash.

According to the report, no flight plan was filed.

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