NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Several good Samaritans jumped into action to help the people on board a small plane and SUV that were involved in a fiery crash on the Haulover Inlet Bridge.
The person inside the SUV was identified as 34-year-old Aida Kazakova.
Marlene Hernandez and her daughter Marleene Hernandez described the harrowing moments when they saw the Cessna 172 zoom toward the bridge, located in Northeast Miami-Dade, just before 1 p.m., Saturday.
“It was right on top of the roof of our car,” said Marlene.
Moments later, the single-engine aircraft burst into flames, as dark smoke billowed into the sky.
“It was out of a horror movie,” said Marleene.
Also witnessing the impact was good Samaritan Beau Burgess.
“I just started to come up on the bridge as the plane hit and it struck the car,” he said.
Marleene said she quickly grabbed her young son and ran the other way to get to safety.
Meanwhile, her mother ran toward the red SUV that had been hit head on by the plane. Inside the vehicle was Kazakova and her two toddlers.
“I said, ‘Mom, come back! Mom, where are you going?’ Because I’m afraid this is going to explode,” said Marleene.
Marlene said she was reacting in the moment.
“I know it was dangerous, but God gave me the strength,” she said.
Marlene said she reached Kazakova and her children, who by that point had exited the SUV. She hugged the survivors on the bridge.
“I told them, ‘Everything is fine. You’re alive, you made it, you’re alive,'” she said.
“That mom and those kids, it’s a miracle that they are here,” said Marleene.
Burgess, meanwhile, zeroed in on the occupants of the Cessna.
“I put my van in park. I started running towards the plane,” he said.
Investigators said two people inside the Cessna were able to get out on their own and were taken to the hospital.
Burgess said he reached the aircraft and helped the two passengers.
“An older gentleman was trying to help one guy off the floor, so I grabbed the guy with him, we pulled him to the sidewalk,” said Burgess.
By that point, more people had stopped to help.
“As we turned back, we realized that there was like another man kind of like on the rear of the plane, and everybody kind of like, helps him get to the sidewalk,” said Burgess.
Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue units responded to the scene shortly after.
The pilot of the Cessna, Narciso Torres, died at the scene. He was a veteran air traffic controller at Miami International Airport.
In a statement issued to 7News, Saturday night, the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said, “Narciso touched so many people with his warmth and kindness, both with NATCA, in the facilities he worked and in every interaction he had.”
Marlene and Marleene believe the pilot’s quick thinking saved their lives and many others.
“By a miracle of God it wasn’t worse,” said Marleene.
As of Monday afternoon, authorities have not yet released the names of other people on board the plane when it crashed.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are leading the investigation into the crash. Officials said it is still very early in their investigation to determine what caused the crash.
Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.