Pilot in serious condition after plane makes crash-landing in Homestead

Investigators don't believe distress call made prior to crash

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Federal investigators were at a Homestead airport Tuesday to find out why a small plane made a crash-landing there the day before.

The Piper PA-28 went off the runway at Miami Homestead General Aviation Airport, bounced and came to a rest on the grass next to a canal, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Dan Boggs said Tuesday that the single-engine plane took off from Miami Executive Airport shortly before the crash. Boggs said the pilot and his friend were practicing landings.

The victims were identified as pilot Lionel Naraidu, 48, and passenger Edgar Santiago-Gonzalez, 57.

Naraidu was airlifted to Jackson South Community Hospital, where he remained in serious condition Tuesday. Santiago-Gonzalez was taken to Homestead Hospital, where he was treated and released.

The plane landed on its belly in the grass between a fence and a canal. The nose and propeller were damaged.

Boggs said investigators would remain at the crash site for most of the day Tuesday before the wreckage is removed and taken to a hangar near Fort Pierce.

"We will go through all the systems of the aircraft -- the controls, the fuel, the engine," he said.

Boggs said investigators haven't had a chance to speak with the victims, but he doesn't believe that any distress calls were made.

About the Authors:

Peter Burke returned for a second stint of duty at Local 10 News in February 2014.

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.