Police ID Pilot Who Crashed Off Elliott Key
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade police have identified the pilot who died when a Cessna 172 he was in crashed off Elliott Key Sunday afternoon.
Ricardo Laporta Barboza, 51, of Coral Gables was at the controls when the plane went down about 200 yards east of the island.
Dean International Flight Training and Aircraft Rentals confirmed to CBS4’s Maggie Newland that the plane was rented from its facility and took off Sunday from Tamiami Airport, but where it was headed is unclear.
Monday, Miami-Dade Police divers went back out to the crash site, which includes several large pieces of debris from the plane in about 10 feet of water. The divers told CBS4’s Natalia Zea they were going to take pictures and video of the plane pieces underwater.
Sea Tow says it has been hired by the National Transportation Safety Board to recover the pieces of the plane. The company is waiting for final word from the NTSB and plans to start removing the debris Tuesday morning.
Tom Romanowski was on the other side of the key when he saw the plane plunge toward the water.
“We were just sitting out in a boat and all of the sudden he just went straight down,” said Romanowski. “He didn’t try to pull up on the throttle; the wings didn’t fluctuate. He just went straight in.”
Miami-Dade police divers found Barboza’s body still inside the plane which was submerged in about 10 feet of water.
Once the plane pieces are recovered by Sea Tow they will be brought back to land where an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board will go over them.
Romanowski, who called 911 after the crash, said he took video of some of the debris he saw.
“We just saw pieces of metal no bigger than three foot by three foot,” he explained.
Those who saw or heard the plane go down, say their thoughts are with the man who lost his life.
“I’m a pilot myself so I don’t want that to happen. I wouldn’t want to be in that situation. I feel bad for the pilot,” said Carlos Meneses who heard the crash.
The NTSB says it could be a few days before investigators are on scene due to the recovery efforts.