OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward Sheriff’s Office has responded to the scene of a small plane crash at an Oakland Park lake, Wednesday.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Piper PA-23 plane lost power while flying south of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport before crashing into a lake just west of Northwest 21st Street Avenue, at around 12:15 p.m.
Officials have confirmed that the pilot was able to escape the plane and swim to shore. According to Oakland Park Fire Rescue, the pilot appeared to be OK, and said he did not need medical assistance.
Several witnesses from the surrounding area said they saw the plane go down into the water.
“It was coming from north going south,” said witness Roland Forbes. “When it got about here – in the middle here – there was a puff of smoke, went up in the air, and the plane start taking a nose dive.”
The pilot had landed in a lake surrounded by apartments and condos.
“I told my wife, ‘The guy is in trouble,'” said witness Angelo Marfisi, who saw the plane from his third story balcony. “You could hear the engine just fluttering, and he got really close to us, and he was able to make a turn.”
The plane turned and landed in the water.
Video shows the tail of the plane sticking out of the water with the pilot standing outside.
“When it came down, hit the water, about two or three seconds [later] the guy came out. He was dazed. He was dazed, but he stood on the wing,” Forbes said.
The plane is believed to have sunk to the bottom of the lake.
“‘Wait a minute. Is that a plane in a lake?’ We see the plane sitting there with the tale end sticking straight up out of the water. I thought it was a joke or something,” said one man. “We watched it, and then it just sank right down in the water.”
The pilot then jumped into the water and swam to safety.
“It’s a lucky thing too because I thought he was dead. He could’ve landed on any one of these houses, on a road,” said the witness. “Heck – the school is over there too. He could have landed on the school. That could have been a real catastrophe.”
The FAA is now investigating and the National Transportation Safety Board will look into the cause of the accident.
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