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Pilot reported rough running left engine before crash near Pahokee killing 5, NTSB report says

Posted at 3:00 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 15:38:05-04

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report on a plane crash near Pahokee that killed all five people on boardon March 8, 2019.

Four local attorneys and the pilot were flying from Tampa to the North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport before going down in shallow waters just 400 yards off the shore of Lake Okeechobee.

The pilot had declared an emergency to air traffic control, reported a rough running left engine and said he was going to shut down that engine and divert to Pahokee, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.

The pilot's last transmission was when he spotted the airport in sight after being given clearance to land, the NTSB report stated.

Killed in the crash were: Eduardo Mulet (45) of West Palm Beach, Eric Peterson (73) of Lighthouse Point, Matthew Fiorello (36) of Palm Beach Gardens, Heather Bridwell (43) of Jupiter, and Edwin Mortell III (54) of Stuart. Mulet was the pilot and the 4 passengers were attorneys at Peterson Bernard, an area law firm.

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Witnesses saw the plane, a Piper PA 23-250, in a "45 degree nose and left-wing low rapid descent" before hit hit the water, according to the report.

The airplane was registered to L-Holding LLC, the report stated. Investigators recovered it and moved it to a secure facility for further review.