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Pilot dies after small plane crashes in Fort Lauderdale

Posted: 12:11 PM, Mar 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-01 18:59:34-05
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BROWARD COUNTY, Fla.-- A pilot was killed after a small banner plane crashed into a condominium building in Fort Lauderdale Friday.

The crash happened shortly before noon at the Berkley South complex at 3015 N. Ocean Boulevard.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue officials said the pilot of the plane was killed, but no other injuries were reported.

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. Television shots showed the yellow, single-engine Piper PA-25 crumpled with its wings snapped off.

There was a large hole near the 16th or 17th floor on the east side of the building where the plane is believed to have struck.

NBC 6 reporter Marissa Bagg, who lives in the building, said residents told her that the building shook and the fire alarm went off as they evacuated.

"There's a hole in the building and it looks like part of the plane is stuck in that hole," Bagg said.

Fort Lauderdale Police said streets near the building were shut down and advised motorists to avoid the area.

The pilot's name was not released. The plane's markings show it is owned by Aerial Banners Inc. The company's website says it has more than 50 planes at locations around the country, including West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, and Alaska.

The company's Fort Lauderdale office declined comment. The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating.

Vacationer Jim McHugh of New York City told the South Florida Sun Sentinel he was on the beach with his wife when the plane flew past heading north. He said the engine was not sputtering, but the plane banked hard to the left toward the tall buildings that line the area. He said he realized the plane was too low and told his wife it was going to crash just before it did.

Story from our news partner NBC 6 Information from the Associated Press was also used in this report.