FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Investigators returned to the scene of a small plane crash near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport that left two people dead.
7News cameras captured investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board at the site of the crash, Sunday, as they continued to piece together what caused the Cessna 355 to plunge into a warehouse building shortly after takeoff.
“Part of the left wing, we believe, impacted the edge of a roof,” said NTSB spokesperson Tim Monville. “The airplane then impacted the ground on the left wing first and then slid into the building, and then there was a post-crash fire.”
The crash claimed the lives of both the pilot and passenger. The NTSB is currently questioning the victims’ last points of contact.
“We’ve interviewed personnel at the departure airport for fuel and who interacted with the pilot and the other occupant,” said Monville.
Family members of the victims showed up at the crash site Sunday and watched as investigators dug through the plane’s melted and mangled remains.
Officials said the plane took off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport at around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, heading just north of Jacksonville, when something went wrong.
“I saw the airplane pass just over me, and the engine went, ‘bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum,’ and after, I see black smoke,” said witness Gerard Houle.
The aircraft burst into flames after crashing into the warehouse building located near Northwest 62nd Street and West Cypress Creek Road.
The building is home to several businesses, including the Positive Behavior Supports Corporation, a therapy facility for children on the autism spectrum. Eight staff workers and six children were inside at the time.
“We are very, very blessed that the staff reacted with the protocol safety and they were able to get everybody, including themselves, to safety,” said Positive Behavior Supports Corporation spokesperson Claudia Axelrod.
As investigators wrap up the initial stages of their investigation, they said the heavy lifting will begin Monday morning.
“Tomorrow we plan to obtain air traffic control data from [the Federal Aviation Administration], and also a recovery crew will be coming tomorrow to begin the process of recovery of the wreckage from the building,” said Monville. “We’ll take it to a secure location, and then we’ll begin our reconstruction and further examination of the airplane and engines.”
As of Sunday night, police had not released the names of the victims.
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