Banner planes have history of South Florida crashes

At least 4 crashes, emergency landings reported since March 2011

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - A pilot survived a plane crash in western Broward County on Thursday, in the latest incident involving a single-engine banner plane.

The plane, owned by Aerial Banners Inc., crashed in some marsh water about 3 miles west of U.S. Highway 27. The pilot didn't appear to be hurt and was rescued by a Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter.

BSO Capt. Kevin Butler said the plane's engine lost power shortly after takeoff from North Perry General Aviation Airport.

***March 19, 2011

On March 19, 2011 another pilot was forced to make a hard landing at North Perry Airport after his banner plane lost power mid-flight.

That pilot was not injured, although the plane was badly damaged.

***March 7, 2014

On March 7, 2014 a banner plane crashed into a lake in northeast Miami-Dade County near Interstate 95.

The pilot, Rob Ramirez, told Local 10 News that he had been in the air for more than three hours and was returning to North Perry Airport when the plane lost engine power.

A man and his son helped pull Ramirez out of the water.

That plane is also owned by Aerial Banners Inc.

***Sept. 6, 2014

 On Sept. 6, 2014, a pilot crashed another banner plane off Miami Beach. The pilot, Brian Haggerty, told Local 10 News that years on flying experience is likely what saved his life.

Haggerty said he was on the last run of a 2-hour banner plane flight when the engine lost power. He said he cut the banner loose while he was 500 feet in the air, and tried to glide to a soft landing, but he didn't have enough air speed to get the nose fully up.

Haggerty suffered a minor cut to his forehead in the crash.

Haggerty climbed out of the plane's window and a man on a jet ski nearby took him to shore.

The cause of Thursday's crash remains under investigation.

Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen spoke with the owner of Aerial Banners Inc., Robert Benyo, who said none of the incidents involving his planes were due to mechanical failure.

Benyo said the incidents were weather-related, due to the plane running out of gas or due to carburetor icing.

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

Copyright 2015 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.