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Flight school planes collided 'nearly straight on' over Everglades

NTSB releases preliminary report on July 17 mid-air collision that killed 4

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MIAMI – Two small planes "converged nearly straight on" when they collided over the Florida Everglades last week, killing four people, a report released Thursday said.

The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report of the July 17 mid-air collision about 9 miles northwest of Miami Executive Airport.

According to the report, a Piper PA-34 was on its way to a training area at an altitude of about 1,500 feet and was no longer communicating with air traffic control. A Cessna 172 was returning to the airport from the training area at an altitude of about 1,500 and had contacted with the airport's tower just before the collision.

"The Piper main wreckage was located about 620 feet west of the collision point indicated by radar data," the report said. "The wreckage was mostly intact and upright, with the vertical stabilizer and outboard section of right wing separated. The vertical stabilizer was located about 50 feet west of the main wreckage and the outboard section of right wing was located by aerial drone about 220 feet north-northeast of the main wreckage."

According to the report, an air traffic controller had issued a traffic advisory, but contact with the Cessna was lost.

"The Cessna main wreckage was located about 1,340 feet southeast of the collision point indicated by radar data," the report said. "The wreckage came to rest upright and its left wing had separated. The left wing was located by areal drone about 1,320 feet northwest of the main wreckage."

Both planes were registered and operated by Dean International flight school.

Carlos Zanetti, 22, Jorge Sanchez, 22, Ralph Knight, 72, and Nisha Sejwal, 19, were killed in the collision.

Dean International owner Robert Dean announced Monday that the troubled flight school was closing.


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