Pilot error blamed for plane crash that killed 7 South Florida colleagues, investigators say

'Casual attitude toward compliance with standards' cited in official report

By Paradise Afshar - Digital Editor
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PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - Pilot error has been blamed for a small-plane crash that killed seven people from South Florida last year, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Execuflight plane crashed in Akron, Ohio, in November and killed a total of nine people, including the two crew members on board.

Diane Smoot, Diana Suriel, Thomas Virgin, Nick Weaver, Jared Weiner and Ori Rom were killed in the Nov. 15, 2015, crash. 

The Hawker H25 jet clipped telephone or electrical wires before crashing into a four-family apartment complex.

No one was inside the complex at the time of the crash, and no one on the ground was injured. About 12 families who lived in the apartment complex were displaced.

The report by the NTSB also said that Execuflight's "casual attitude toward compliance with standards" may have contributed to the crash, along with its "inadequate hiring, training, and operational oversight of the flight crew, the company's lack of a formal safety program and the FAA's insufficient oversight of the company’s training program and flight operations."

According to the NTSB, the flight crew was the probable cause of the crash due to its "management of the approach and multiple deviations from company (standard operating procedures)."

The report said that the crew's actions led to the plane to be placed in an "unsafe situation" and led to an "unstabilized approach, a descent below (minimum decent altitude) without visual contact with the runway environment and an aerodynamic stall." 

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