Small aircraft makes emergency landing in Everglades after engine failure

OPA-LOCKA, FLA. (WSVN) - A small, twin-engine aircraft made an emergency landing, Friday, after reportedly having engine failure.

7 Skyforce HD flew over the scene of a Piper PA-34 that made an emergency landing in the Everglades, 18 miles west of US Highway 27, just before noon Friday. Tower officials were in communication with the pilot who reportedly said they would be putting the aircraft down.

The pilot and co-pilot were later seen standing on top of the crashed aircraft, which landed about 18 miles west of North Perry Airport. “We heard a Mayday call on guard frequency,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Joseph Messina. “We heard the pilot say, ‘Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, I’m going down.'”

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard


The plane took off from Opa-locka Executive Airport early Friday morning and quickly had engine problems. Both engines were destroyed and a fuel leak also occurred. “The nose cone was broken off. There was a little bit of wreckage everywhere,” Messina said. “The landing gear had been broken apart, and one of the engines had separated itself from the left wing.”

The U.S. Coast Guard, unsure of the plane’s condition, went through with the rescue, sending over a helicopter. “We dropped down from a 30-foot hover and lowered our rescue basket down to the top of the plane,” Messina said.

Skyforce HD caught the moments when one of the people on board was lifted in the rescue basket to safety. Both men were flown back to their home airport in Opa-locka.

Messina confirmed that both men were uninjured. “In great condition. They looked like they were happy to get off the plane,” he said. “There were no injuries.”

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles also spoke of the possible condition of both passengers. “When BSO Air Rescue located the wreckage, they saw the two people onboard were giving the thumbs up, indicating they appeared OK,” said Jachles.

The plane is owned by American Flight Training, who told 7News that both men on board were both veterans and knew how to handle themselves in flight.

The FAA is now investigating.

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

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