WEST BROWARD, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities are investigating after, they said, a small plane with two people inside went down in the Everglades after losing power, shortly after takeoff.
According to the Federal Administration Aviation, the Cessna 152 touched down about six miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Thursday evening, just west of the Sawgrass Expressway.
The pilot, who wished to remain anonymous, described the challenge of guiding the aircraft down. “I was pretty much [in] control of the airplane, and then it’s like at the last minute I could hear my steering, like, freaking out,” she said.
The aircraft still sat by the side of a levee, Friday morning.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue officials said the aircraft had flown out of the airport for a lesson with a flight instructor and her 18-year-old student pilot and had lost power over the Everglades.
“We were just doing a regular day, nothing was really wrong,” said the pilot, “and then we started to lose power, so that’s when we decided to come here. I just decided to choose here rather than going over there by the houses and have difficulty finding a spot.”
The spot that she chose was a levee located about a half mile west of the Sawgrass Expressway, near Atlantic Aguilera.
A witness told 7News he spotted the aircraft moments before it landed. “We saw the plane. It was heading northbound for second, it made a slight U-turn and it riding unusually low,” said Charles Ansy. “I can’t think of any airports that are in this area, so it is not common to see a plane that low. Basically from what I heard, it went down somewhere over there.”
Jose Saldivar said he also saw the uncommon sight. “I was coming right over the little overpass right there when it came right over me,” he said as he pointed to where he had seen it. “It thought it was really weird that it was so low. I thought it was just someone showing off or something.”
Officials said the plane then skidded and flipped over while attempting to land. “They were able to land it upright on the levee, but once they landed, it rolled off and toppled over,” said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles.
“We were able to get out,” said the pilot.
No one was injured.
“A good pilot is always looking for a place to land because you have to always be prepared,” Jachles added. “So apparently somebody was thinking they had that spot. They lost power, so they had a plan to bring that aircraft down safely. As far as it occurring somewhere else, there’s a lot of ‘what ifs.'”
Medics were on the scene but there were no injuries, according to officials.
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