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One of two victims in deadly Broward plane crash identified

One of two people killed in a place crash Friday morning in Pembroke Park has been identified as Joaquin Ricalde Magaña, his family confirms to Local 10 News.
One of two people killed in a place crash Friday morning in Pembroke Park has been identified as Joaquin Ricalde Magaña, his family confirms to Local 10 News.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Two people were killed Friday morning when a small plane struck a storage building and crashed to the ground in a Broward County industrial area.

One of the victims was Joaquin Ricalde Magaña, his family confirmed to Local 10 News.

Magaña’s niece, a politician in Mexico, tweeted out this photo with Joaquin on the far right in a black shirt, writing in Spanish that “Life is short and a privilege and if you don’t remember that, it will remind you. Have a good trip uncle Huacho, this was a flight with no return.”

The 1969 twin-engine Aero Commander 500S with Magaña and one other person on board had taken off in Pompano Beach and was heading to Opa-locka, police say. It was only in the air for nine minutes before it crashed around 9 a.m. at 1781 S. Park Road in Pembroke Park.

The force of the collision into the building’s fifth floor was so great that the engine separated from the plane.

“I was walking out of the storage when I heard an explosion,” Armando Perez told reporters at the scene in Spanish. “I came out and saw the plane and two bodies. Had I gone out a minute earlier, the plane would’ve fallen on me.”

Sky 10 was above the scene shortly before 9:30 a.m. The bodies of two people were visible toward the front of the plane, surrounded by debris.

A small plane crashed Friday morning in Broward County, resulting in two fatalities.
A small plane crashed Friday morning in Broward County, resulting in two fatalities.

Broward Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Don Prichard said police, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue and Hollywood Fire Rescue crews were dispatched to the scene.

Prichard said it appears that no one was inside the storage building that the plane hit.

The building will need repairs but has been deemed safe to be in.

A small plane crashed Friday morning in Broward County, resulting in two fatalities.
A small plane crashed Friday morning in Broward County, resulting in two fatalities.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration registry, the plane is registered to Conquest Air, Inc. out of Miami Lakes.

Conquest Air is a cargo company that flies daily trips from Miami to the Bahamas — doing most of their flying out of Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport — but they say this plane was not part of their cargo operation and is not used for any commercial purposes.

“Our concern is with the pilots and their families,” a statement issued by Conquest Air read in part. “We will continue to work with the relevant authorities to obtain more information regarding this situation.”

Steven J. Grey, who flies for Total Traffic, told Local 10 News reporter Jeff Weinsier that the pilot of that plane could be heard on radio panicking before impact.

“It sounds like the pilot keyed up the radio before the plane went down, or the copilot, and was screaming,” Grey said. “We just landed at Hollywood North Perry Airport and my pilot’s listening on the radio and he hears, “Oh, f! ... Oh my gosh!’”

Grey said the tower didn’t get a response from the plane after that, and then declared an emergency and told other aircraft in the area to hold.

Two people were killed when a 1969 twin-engine Aero Commander 500S crashed Friday morning in Pembroke Park. The force of the collision was so great that the engine separated from the plane.
Two people were killed when a 1969 twin-engine Aero Commander 500S crashed Friday morning in Pembroke Park. The force of the collision was so great that the engine separated from the plane.

FAA spokesman Rick Breitenfeldt said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, with the NTSB taking the lead in the investigation.

In February 2019, a cargo plane from Conquest Air was on its way to Opa-locka from the Bahamas when it went down in the water about 13 miles east of Bay Harbor Islands.


About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.