PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities have identified the sole survivor of a plane crash near North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines, a crash that claimed the lives of three people, including her 4-year-old son.
Megan Bishop, 35, was the only survivor after a small plane, identified as a Beechcraft Bonanza, struck her SUV while driving with her son, Taylor, near Southwest 72nd Avenue and 13th Street, at around 3 p.m., Monday.
“Anytime anybody dies, it’s a tragedy that’s horrible,” Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said from the crash site. “When you have a child that dies, it’s unimaginable, and our prayers are going out to the family of the child.”
Bishop and her 4-year-old son were transported to the hospital, where her son succumbed to his injuries. Bishop is a teacher’s assistant at Hollywood Hills Elementary School, which is close to the crash site.
The Broward County School Board held a moment of silence during one of their regularly scheduled meetings on Tuesday to honor the victims of the crash.
“It’s with great sadness that we ask for your prayers this morning. One of our very special and active ESP teachers from Hollywood Hills Elementary was involved in a accident with an airplane in Pembroke Pines. It fell on her car,” said one board member. “Megan Bishop, also known as Kiki, was in the car with her son, Taylor. This little guy lit up the room, the most amazing comments to crack you up. Kiki was discharged last night, that was [Monday] night, and we really would like to remember her son who, unfortunately, passed away through this accident. At this time, we would also like to remember her mother and sister who are also part of the Broward County school system in this moment of great tragedy.”
According to investigators, the Beechcraft was forced to turn back towards the airport moments after it took off. They said the aircraft suffered problems with its engine.
The aircraft would crash into Bishop’s SUV a few hundred feet short of one of the airport’s runways. The impact was captured on a neighbor’s Ring surveillance camera, and Instagram page Miami Problems posted the impact captured from Sharon Marquez’s home surveillance camera.
Marquez said she was home at the time of the crash, and she feels “very lucky” and “blessed” she was not hurt.
Two people were on board the Beechcraft at the time of the crash. They were pronounced dead on the scene.
Grief counselors have been sent to Hollywood Hills Elementary School to help those affected by the tragedy.
If you would like to donate to help support the family of 4-year-old Taylor, click here to be redirected to their GoFundMe page.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board returned to the scene on Tuesday to find out more about what caused the crash. The roadways in and around the crash site reopened after they towed the burned plane from the crash site.
Salah Elshaer, who was one of the first to call 911 after the crash, also returned to the site to tell investigators what he saw. He also said he is struggling with the news of the boy’s death.
“I felt really bad. I just wanted to come back and just take another look at it and acknowledge, look deeper and acknowledge what went on,” he said.
Monday’s crash is one of five that happened near North Perry Airport in less than a year. There have been six deaths recorded in the past 10 months related to plane crashes in the area.
“I’m a pilot,” Michael Cordero, who has 40 years experience in the air, said. “If I’m taking off and I have an engine failure, you’re trained to go straight. Never turn. The plane will stall, and it will spin, and you’ll just go down.”
Cordero believes the pilot did not have many options once the engine trouble occurred.
“He only had maybe, what, 100 feet? You got to make the best of it,” he said.
Luis Alvarez has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years.
“It’s a concern now,” Alvarez said. “After this year, there’s been a lot of plane crashes. It’s a little bit uneasy. You got grandkids in the house. You’re at work. Your daughter calls you. She’s crying, hysterical. I thought something happened, and it was pretty devastating.”
Amid the rise in plane crashes in the area, Geller defended North Perry Airport’s safety while announcing a county inquiry into the airport. The timeline of the inquiry is not clear.
“The accidents that you have at North Perry Airport — whether you look at the last five years or 10 years — when you compare them to the amount of accidents per takeoff and landing at every other general aviation airport in South Florida, North Perry is exactly in the middle, exactly average,” Geller said. “The county will look and see what else we can do. One of the issues we are going to be looking at is whether or not the flight schools are a problem.”
The mayor added that over the past five years, not including Monday’s crash, there has been about a dozen or so crashes, and many of them were caused by pilot error or aircraft failure.
“None of them have been as a result of North Perry Airport. Closing this airport isn’t an option,” Geller said. “It will create more traffic in other places, and again, if you’re moving this down to Opa-Locka, where they’re flying big jets or Fort Lauderdale, that would increase the number of accidents per takeoff and landing.”
However, the crashes continue to worry neighbors like German Garzon.
“Accident here, the accident there — yeah, a lot of people are concerned about that,” he said.
Some people have placed flowers at the crash site to remember the lives lost.
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