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FLORIDA CITY (CBSMiami) — Federal aviation investigators are trying to find out what caused a deadly plane crash in unincorporated Broward County.
Deputies say the wreckage was found Monday around 7 a.m. just East of U.S. 27 – about seven miles North of I-75.
The FAA says the Vans RV7 aircraft crashed about 25 miles southwest of Boca Raton Airport – where it had taken off from on Sunday around 5 p.m. Investigators said the plane went down about 30 minutes later.
Authorities say the pilot – the only person on board the single engine plane at the time – was found dead. The pilot’s identity has not yet been released to the public.
“The pilot is believed pinned under the wreckage,” said Broward Fire Rescue Sheriff Mike Jachles. “So they’re going to be using some heavy rescue tools to try to free the pilot from that wreckage.”
Federal and local authorities had been searching for the plane since Sunday after it did not land at Opa-Locka Executive Airport.
“The family of a pilot of an RV 7 aircraft had not heard from him and were concerned for his safety. We immediately began a response,” said Capt. Ty Lahnen with Civil Air Patrol.
The Civil Air Patrol scrambled into the air at about 3:45 a.m. trying to find signs of the missing plane and its pilot.
“We launched an aircraft early in the morning to listen for an ELT, an emergency locator transmitter, which is a beacon that’s activated during an emergency,” said Lahnen. “Unfortunately, we were not able to pick up any transmissions on the emergency frequency.”
They had no luck in the first search and they went up again at sunrise. That’s when they found the badly mangled plane.
“We do use radar and cell phone forensics to locate the area. In this case, we had very good radar data on the aircraft. It went off radar at a specific point which happened to be exactly where the crash site was located,” said Lahnen.
Airboats raced out, filled with machinery to move the plane so crews could find the pilot.
The Van RV-7 plane was partially submerged in the Everglades. Searchers were able to retrieve the pilot’s body, bringing it back for an autopsy.
Investigators had to ride airboats for several miles to get to the wreckage. It’s located north of I-75 between the Sawgrass Expressway and US 27.
The FAA along with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will determine the cause of the crash.