A three-minute audio has revealed the final moments of a pilot who crashed his plane into a Florida mobile home, killing several people.
The plane, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza V35 that took off from Vero Beach, crashed in a Bayside Waters mobile home park in Clearwater at 7pm on Thursday.
Martha Parry, 86, a resident of a double-wide mobile home, and 54-year-old Mary Ellen Pender, a visitor, were killed along with the plane’s pilot, 54-year-old Jemin Patel. Although the flames were quickly doused, at least three other homes were damaged in the fire resulting from the accident.
Shortly before the crash, Patel radioed in a Mayday distress call, alerting that his plane had lost engines.
“They went down hard. They’re in flames,” another pilot who witnessed the crash is heard saying in the call, FOX 13 reported. “He is definitely into a house, a whole house is demolished... I just saw him going down at an extremely high rate of speed.”
Images posted online by the Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department showed flames that engulfed parts of the park, as smoke billowed from the damaged homes.
Frances Yont, a witness to the crash, told CBS affiliate 10 Tampa Bay that she could feel the heat from the fire when she ran out of her home in Clearwater, which is located roughly 20 miles west of Tampa.
“Everything was popping like propane tanks,” she said. “We couldn’t do anything... it was horrible.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
The investigation will involve three primary areas – the pilot, the aircraft, and the operating environment – and consider the flight track data, recordings of any air traffic control communications, the weather forecast and conditions at the time of the crash, witness statements and any surveillance video.