PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Two people were rescued Friday after a cargo plane that departed from South Florida crashed off the coast of the Bahamas, authorities said.
The DC-3 propeller plane that took off from Opa-locka Executive Airport lost an engine and crashed into the water off the coast of Nassau, the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association told Local 10 News.
There were two people on the plane when it went down just before 5 p.m., but both are safe.
A statement from the Federal Aviation Administration said the flight was en route to Lynden Pindling International Airport.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are now investigating.
New images obtained Friday night by the news network ZNS Bahamas show the two pilots rescued from the crash just moments after it happened. One image shows a plane off in the distance, about 2.5 miles off the west coast of New Providence, in Nassau.
Rescue officials responded but found no debris in the water, meaning the plane didn't break up on impact. Bahamian reporters could be seen standing on the beach, not far from the downed aircraft.
"By the time all the vessels and the aircraft got on scene, the plane was already down. The pilots were already coming out of the escape hatches in the cockpit and later jumped in the water because the aircraft sank rather quickly," said Eddie Whan, chairman of the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue, Grand Bahama.
Investigators said during its approach to the landing strip, the plane crashed short of the runway.
"We had a mayday call in with a DC-3 inbound out of Opa-locka to Nassau, they had lost their No. 1 engine and they were losing altitude," Whan said.
Whan credits their survival to the calm conditions on the water that day.
"It could've been a lot worse had it been a real nasty day, a real windy day," Whan said. "You know, you have 10-foot seas, even six or eights out there would not have been pleasant for them on a water landing."
Preliminary reports show engine failure might have caused the plane to go down, but investigators will work to determine an official cause.