“The banner plane made contact with a high-rise building between the 16th and 17th floor,” said Chief Gollan on CBS4 News at Noon. He said the building was under construction and the plane fell to the pool deck.
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The building’s balconies and pool deck have been under construction for more than a year but the 18-story building is occupied.
Pilot dies after crashing plane into condo in Fort Lauderdale
The hole left in the Fort Lauderdale high-rise building where a banner plane crashed on March 1, 2019. (CBS4)
“It’s tough to say wow here is this moment that I escaped, when the pilot did not he died,” he said. "I was just grateful my daughter wasn’t home my wife was away at work as well."
Residents say they heard the crash around 11:55 a.m. then a loud boom, which is when the plane hit the 17th floor and fell to the pool deck.
Video: Banner Plane Slams Into Lauderdale-By-The-Sea High Rise
“We noticed that the plane was low and shaking a little bit and seconds later, we hear the crash,” said Tony Bonilla.
The phone number on the wreckage comes back to Aerial Banners Inc. out of Fort Lauderdale. As of right now, CBS12 News still don’t know who is the pilot.
Small banner plane crashes into building in Fort Lauderdale, killing pilot
Witnesses said the plane was pulling a banner along the beach shortly before noon Friday. One witness said it appeared the banner got stuck at some point. Ken Criswell said it was clear the pilot was in trouble even though the engine was running.
“It was running but he just had no power,” Criswell said. “He couldn’t climb. I saw him when he was crossing A1A. And I could still the see banner in the air and then that quick, I knew this guy was going down.”
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephan Gollan told reporters the plane hit an 18-story condominium building just before noon and then fell several floors onto an outdoor pool deck. He said the pilot was killed, but no other injuries were reported. The buildings residents were evacuated.
First responders from Fort Lauderdale arrived quickly. They said the plane hit the building around the 16th floor.
The pilots name was not released. The planes markings show it is owned by Aerial Banners Inc. The companys website says it has more than 50 planes at locations around the country, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, and Alaska.
Then the plane fell to the 2nd-floor pool deck where workers ran for safety. Investigators say there were more than 100 people in the building. Some told us they felt the building shake. Investigators said they need to make sure the building is safe.
Pilot dies as small plane crashes into condo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – WIMS AM 1420
“We have the building evacuated and evaluated for structural integrity,” said Stephen Gollan, Battalion Chief for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.
We looked up the tail number on the Piper PA-25 airplane. It comes back to a company called Aerial Banners in Pembroke Pines.
“The banner plane that was flying up and down the beach made contact with the building on the east side between the 16th or 17th floor,” Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephan Gollan told the Sun Sentinel. “The occupant of that condo was in there at the time but was not injured.”
CBS 4 News contacted the owner of Aerial Banners, Bob Benyo, and he told CBS 4 News that they’re struggling to figure out why this plane crashed. He said the pilot should not have been this low when he was turning west.
All in all, however, investigators say they’re grateful there weren’t more fatalities with the number of people on the pool deck.
Video: Web Extra: Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue News Conference On Plane Crash
“It’s a recipe for disaster when you have 20 individuals there that are just doing their job working,” Gollan said. “There’s no telling what could have happened.”
Investigators with the NTSB will be back Saturday morning to figure out how to remove the plane from the pool deck.
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