Pilots in fatal Broward crash were good friends with thousands of hours in the air

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – There’s still a visual reminder of what happened here Friday, a major scar on the east side of the building where a plane collided.

And now we’re getting to know a little more about the men who were inside the plane and died in that crash.

Nissan Giat, 53 of Miramar, and Joaquin Ricalde Magaña, 56 of Miami, were close friends who had flown together often. According to their families, both pilots had thousands of hours spent in the air.

“I’m still waiting for the text [that would say]: ’Just landed, babe. My love. On my way home,’” says Vivi Davidoff-Giat, Nissan’s wife.

She says the past few days have been incredibly difficult.

“It still doesn’t register that he’s not here with me and with the loves of his life, the kids, the friends,” Davidoff-Giat says.

What exactly caused the 1969 twin-engine Aero Commander to come crashing down Friday during a quick trip from Pompano Beach to Opa-locka is still unclear. An investigation from the National Transportation Safety Board is underway.

“My dad has been flying longer than I’ve been alive,” Magaña’s son Rommel Ricalde says. “He flew over 30 years, had thousands of hours of experience. So did Nissan. Nissan was a flight instructor.”

“He was selfless. I don’t understand why he had to go that way,” Ricalde added of his dad.

Both families are trying to find a way to move forward.

“The only thing he said to me over and over again, ’If I ever want to go, it’s going to be doing what I love to do in an airplane,” Davidoff-Giat said of her husband.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by the family of Joaquin Ricalde Magaña:

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