DANIA BEACH (CBSMiami) — A Cessna airplane went down Saturday morning, plunging into 40 feet of water just 200 yards off the Dania Beach shore.
The four-seat Cessna was flying south along Broward’s coastline when, just after 9:30 a.m., the pilot checked in with air traffic control at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The tower warned the pilot of bad weather.
PILOT: “Lauderdale, this is Cessna 609er 1-Echo. I am presently southbound along the shoreline. My destination is Ocean Reef. Request permission to continue along the shoreline under 500 feet.”
TOWER: “Southbound is approved offshore at a low 500. Be advised of heavy precipitation after 12:00 ranging at about four miles. You might wanna proceed another three miles offshore to avoid that precipitation.”
PILOT: “Roger. 1-Echo.”
That was the last time the pilot responded to the tower.
TOWER: “Number 609 1-Echo. Ft. Lauderdale tower. Do you read? 609 1-Echo, Ft. Lauderdale tower.”
FIRE RESCUE: “You got any information on an aircraft that is down?”
TOWER: “We’re just showing he’s two to the east, number 609 Foxtrot Echo.”
FIRE RESCUE: “R-7 (Rescue 7) copies.”
Broward County Sheriff’s Fire Rescue quickly put its chopper in the air. Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue, the Coast Guard, and Florida Fish and Wildlife all joined in the search.
“When they did encounter what looked like an oil slick and then the small debris field, they confirmed they located the wreckage,” said Mike Jachles of the Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue.
Rescuers could see the plane from the air and from the water. They also found two people — the yet-unidentified passengers killed in the crash.
“It’s a tough day for any agency to come address the media on a fatality,” Lt. Commander Ryan Kelley with the U.S. Coast Guard told reporters. “And our hearts go out to the families of these victims.”
And the NTSB is investigating the crash.