HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - One person has died after a banner-towing plane crashed on a road adjacent to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood and burst into flames.

Video from 7Skyforce showed the aircraft flying low to the ground, at around 12:30 p.m., Wednesday.

Moments later, the plane plummeted and crashed on South Park Road, just north of Hollywood Boulevard, and ignited.

“It was pretty crazy to see,” said witness Maddie Bracy.

The aircraft, a yellow Piper PA-25 Pawnee that was headed toward the beach from North Perry Airport, was owned by Aerial Banners, Inc.

In a distress call to air traffic control, the pilot reported encountering difficulties shortly after takeoff and expressed the need to release the banner being towed.

“Yeah, I’m gonna have to drop this banner. I’m not climbing,” he said.

Moments later, he made the decision to release the banner.

“I’m at 400 [feet], I’ve got to drop this over a lake,” he said.

But the pilot was unable to regain control of the aircraft and fell from the sky.

In video captured by 7Skyforce, the plane was seen veering erratically through the air before ultimately crashing.

“We thought it was a car accident. We looked out of our windows, and we saw a huge flame,” said Bracy. “It sounded like two trucks just colliding together.”

Bracy said she was working nearby when she saw the plane engulfed in flames.

“Where it landed, it just missed a car, 20 feet from it,” she said, “so it was really insane to physically watch it, especially being so close, my job, I can see it out the window. It’s unreal, unbelievable.”

Witness Karen Schiff said she could tell the pilot was doing all he could not to hit anyone on the ground.

“Whoever it was, he made every attempt to not hurt anybody else,” she said. “There were people on both sides of the road, but [he was maneuvering the plane] to avoid people.”

Schiff said she was just feet away from where the Piper exploded.

“With another gentleman from across the street, and we were trying to see if we could get anybody out, but the flames were too hot,” she said.

The pilot was the only person on board.

It’s a tragedy that, Schiff said, the pilot prevented from being even worse.

“He’s truly a hero, whoever it was, and his family needs to know that,” she said.

Emergency services, including Hollywood Police and Fire Rescue, promptly responded to the scene to put out the flames. Despite their best efforts, the pilot could not be saved and was pronounced dead at the crash site.

Authorities have shut down South Park Road between Hollywood Boulevard and Johnson Street. Hollywood Police said it will remain closed until at least Thursday morning.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating to determine the sequence of events and factors contributing to this incident.

7News is working to learn the identity of the pilot.

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