MIAMI (CBSMiami)– Friends of one of the victims killed in a plane crash in Southwest Miami-Dade remember him as a family man who loved to fly.
The plane went down just off Krome Avenue around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, killing all four people on board.
Adriana and Macario Chirinos said the pilot of that plane was Raul Chirivella of Venezuela.
“We spoke with him 5 minutes before he took off,” Adriana Chirinos told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
Adriana Chirinos said her father is Chirivella’s best friend.
Macario Chirinos said his friendship with Chirivella spanned three decades.
“More than 30 years ago. Best friend. Best guy. Best instructor. Best pilot from Venezuela,” Macario Chirinos said.
The Chirinos said the plane was ultimately heading to Venezuela.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft took off from Miami Executive Airport, formerly Tamiami Airport, bound for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Chirinos said that was presumably a fuel stop before the crew would continue on to Caracas.
“He (was) coming to pick up some parts for the airplane in Venezuela,”Macario Chirinos explained regarding the reason for the trip.
Records show the plane is registered to a courier company out of Venezuela, “Servicio Panamericano de Proteccion.”
The Chirinos said Chirivella worked for that company and were here on business.
They identified two of the other victims as Roberto Cabaniel and Juan Carlos Betancourt.
“It was shocking. We did not expect that at all,” she explained. “He’s a family man. He’s a good guy.”
The shock was felt not just by those who knew the victims, but also by those who share in their passion.
“We came here all day to learn how to fly and when that kind of thing happens, you feel like maybe that can happy to me some day. You don’t want that,” flight school student Pablo Alvarez said.
Alvares noted he saw the crew working on the plane before take-off, but he didn’t know if they were doing routine maintenance or investigating a specific issue.
The FAA and NTSB are investigating.