MIAMI GARDENS (CBS4) – Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board continue to go over the wreckage and electronics of a small plane which crashed Monday in a Miami Gardens neighborhood shortly after take off from Opa Locka Airport.
“It was remarkable how it landed and was not more severe, with residences surrounding it and so forth,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Division Chief Alan Cominsky.
The crash happened shortly after 8 a.m. Monday. Moments after taking off for the Bahamas with a load of home furnishings, the pilot, who co-workers identify as 64-year old Harry Trauffer, radioed the tower to say he was having a problem with his Beechcraft 18. The plane crashed into the two vehicles before coming to rest at the back of a home in the 15700 block of NW 37th Court. Trauffer was killed in the crash.
“We are looking at the pilot to determine if there were any physiological problems that may have impaired him or his health,” said NTSB Investigator Todd Gunther. “We are also looking at the aircraft structure itself to determine whether or not there was any in-flight failure.”
James McDuffie lives in the neighborhood.
“With the planes coming across, you always have this in the back your mind that maybe something is going to fall on you,” said McDuffie. “Being here you can hear some the engines when they come out, you can hear them putt, putt, putt, I think they need a little more regulation on the safety.”
Ionna Collins was driving her husband to work when they heard a noise and looked up to see a plane coming at them.
“It was coming fast at an angle, and in less than 10 seconds, it was on fire,” said Collins. “It was a terrible sight.”
George Wright, a witness of the crash, said it appeared the plane was struggling to turn back to the airport.
“As it was popping, all of a sudden you didn’t hear it anymore. I looked up and saw the plane make a sharp turn,” explained Wright. “A sharp dive and it went down.”
The force of the impact tore one of the plane’s props from it – it came to rest up against the home.