FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The wife of a pilot killed in a fatal plane crash that killed him and two passengers is speaking out, placing blame.
Friday afternoon, a twin-engine Piper Cheyenne PA-31T crashed near the intersection of Powerline Road and 51st Place in Fort Lauderdale.
Steve Waller of Deerfield Beach was the pilot. A Boca Raton father, Wally Watson, and his son, Kevin Watson, were the passengers.
According to Avionics Engineering's website, Kevin Watson was the president of the aviation company and Wally Watson was an engineer.
Waller's wife, Kim Waller, said she had spoken with him on the phone just an hour before the plane took off for its fatal flight. She said he was friends with the two passengers.
"He was the best pilot ever," said Kim, of her late husband of 16 years. "I hate flying, but I always loved flying with Stephen. I felt safe with him."
Luke Schiada, a senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, is in charge of the crash investigation. He said their focus on Saturday was documenting the aircraft on scene and then to get it to an off site to examine it further.
"We'll be gathering information about the pilot and his experience, and examining the aircraft's history," said Schiada. "We'll take that information and put it into a comprehensive report that will be sent to the NTSB board, and they will determine a probable cause. We're not making any assumptions or drawing any conclusions."
Kim said her husband was well-versed in flying, often flying aircrafts for friends. She said she does not blame him for the crash.
"I blame the plane, the owner and the mechanics, whoever operated it and worked on that plane," said Waller. "Steve never would have taken a chance with Wally and his son. All they were doing was checking avionics."
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