Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II, N8466G: Incident occurred February 02, 2016 near Opa-Locka Executive Airport (KOPF), Miami-Dade County, Florida


NTSB Identification: ERA16LA103 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 02, 2016 in Miami, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-161, registration: N8466G
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 2, 2016, at 1135 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-24-161, N8466G, ditched in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Miami, Florida, after a partial loss of engine power. The private pilot was not injured and the pilot-rated passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and the fuselage. The airplane was registered to a private company and operated by Airborne Career Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed the Florida Keys Marathon Airport (MTH), Marathon, Florida, about 1100, and was destined for the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The flight originated at FXE earlier that day. The pilot stated that when he performed the engine run-up before departure, he noted that the right magneto had a higher drop in RPM than normal. He leaned the mixture and let the engine run for about a minute before he tested the magneto again. This time the magneto had the normal drop in RPM and he continued with the flight to MTH. The pilot said that when they were returning back to FXE at an assigned altitude of 500 feet, the engine RPM dropped even with full throttle applied. He was unable to maintain altitude and made a forced landing in the ocean close to the shoreline.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His last Federal Aviation Administration second-class medical certificate was issued on July 31, 2015 with no limitations.

The airplane and engine were recovered and retained for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19

Juan Jose Ortiz

Fabian Bobadilla-Ruiz

HAULOVER BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- The pilot and passenger of a small plane that plunged into the water off Haulover Beach nearly two weeks ago said they feel lucky to be alive.

Juan Jose Ortiz and Fabian Bobadilla-Ruiz managed to get out of their Piper PA-28 after it went down, Feb. 2. "A lot of people get into car accidents and they're scared to drive again for a few days. It's kind of like the same," said Ortiz, the pilot, "but right now it's good. We feel good."

The men were immediately rescued by Ocean Rescue swimmers. "It took me about two to three days to figure out what happened that moment, but now we are OK," said Bobadilla-Ruiz.

The plane was later removed from the water. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash.

Beachgoers in Miami witnessed a spectacular scene Tuesday when a Piper plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, lifeguards brought passengers safely to shore and salvage crews lifted the aircraft from the sea bottom and towed it toward land.

The two men in the plane, which belongs to a Fort Lauderdale flight school, survived with minor injuries, officials said.

Colombe Pelletier, 70, visiting North Miami Beach from Quebec, was sunbathing at Haulover Beach with her husband and friends and saw the plane approach the inlet.

"I said to my husband, 'That plane is very low,'" Pelletier said about the water landing she described as being very smooth and flat. "Immediately, the doors of the plane opened and two men were on the wing and pulled out two bags."

Miami-Dade Fire's Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Marcel Lopez, 40, was keeping watch from Tower 1 and noticed the Piper approaching from the south.

"I knew it was going to crash," Lopez said of the aircraft, which ditched in the water at 11:47 a.m. The plane's propeller was going very slowly; Lopez said it seemed to have lost power.

Lopez ran down the tower stairs, grabbed a surfboard and rescue buoy and swam toward the men as they stood on the wings.

The water was about 20 feet deep. Tidal currents can move at 8 mph or more through the inlet and near the jetties, Lopez said.

At about the same time, a boater used a VHF radio to report the crash to the U.S. Coast Guard, gave the plane's position and said it was already sinking.

The pilot  and passenger were identified Tuesday night as Juan Jose Ortiz Carrera, 20, from Ecuador, and Fabian Ignacia Bobadilla-Ruiz, 24, from Chile.

With one man on the surfboard and the second man holding onto the rescue buoy, Lopez got them to the water's edge.

Lifeguard Daniel Gunder, also with Miami-Dade Fire's Ocean Rescue, helped get the second man to shore before the two were turned over to paramedics, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Erika Benitez said.

"We've had plenty of boats capsize and made many rescues, on both the surfboard and Jet Skis," said Lopez.

A lifeguard since 2000, this was his first plane crash.

"I'm glad we have the training to respond and save people," Lopez said.

He was unconcerned about possible dangers involved with a plane crash, such as fire or a sinking wreck.

"By the time the whole thing is over, you don't think about it," Lopez said of the rescue, which he estimated took about eight minutes.

Pelletier said she was surprised to see the plane fall from the sky, "but I didn't think anybody was going to die because it came in so smooth and the men got out so quickly."

The single-engine propeller plane can carry up to four passengers and is owned and operated by Airborne Systems, a flight school based at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, according to Chaz Adams, a spokesman for the air field and the city of Fort Lauderdale.

A receptionist at Airborne Systems' Fort Lauderdale office said Tuesday the company was not making any comment.

Airborne Systems' website says the business was founded in 1994 and is one of the largest independent flight trainers in the United States for pilots of private and commercial aircraft.

It also has a location at Merritt Island Airport in Brevard County. The plane, built in 1981, is registered there with the Federal Aviation Administration under the name Growl Inc.

The FAA said it will investigate the crash and that the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause for the ocean landing.

The aircraft went down in crystal-clear turquoise waters on a beautiful morning.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Aaron Marks told reporters that the two people aboard the Piper had "very minor injuries" and were not taken to a hospital.

He said the men told rescuers "they had some trouble and had to put the plane down."

TowBoat U.S. Miami and Biscayne Towing & Salvage used four large air bags to float the wreck to the surface and towed it a mile through the inlet to a boatyard on the Intracoastal Waterway, where a crane was to lift it onto a truck, owner Cory Offut said.

Before the sun set, the plane, with at least one wing separated from the fuselage, could be seen traveling beneath the A1A bridge toward a marina.

The plane was released to the pilot on Tuesday night.

Multiple agencies responded to the emergency. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue sent a fire boat, air rescue crews and trucks. The Coast Guard sent a pontoon boat; police marine patrols from Bal Harbour, Indian Creek, Miami-Dade and North Bay Village also circled the crash site.

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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A small plane crashed into the water Tuesday off Haulover Beach.

The crash was reported about 11:45 a.m. in the area of 108th Street and Collins Avenue.

Sky 10 was above the Haulover Beach Inlet shortly after the crash as a U.S. Coast Guard boat and several Miami-Dade Fire Rescue boats and vehicles were in the area.

A man who witnessed the crash, Hardy Sides, told Local 10 News that the plane nose-dived into the water.

Two men were on the Piper PA 28, but no one was injured in the crash. They were checked out by paramedics at the scene and were not taken to a hospital.

Authorities said the plane took off from Marathon. The pilot and passengers were flight students from South America.

They were identified as pilot Juan Jose Ortiz Carrera, 20, of Ecuador, and passenger Fabian Ignacio Bobadilla-Ruiz, 24, of Chile.

The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement shortly after the crash that said that the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean 8 miles east of Opa-locka at 11:47 a.m.

"The FAA will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause," the statement said.

A woman at the beach told Local 10 News reporter Ben Kennedy that the pilot told her grandmother that he pressed a wrong button and the plane plummeted toward the ocean.

"I've never seen something like this in my life. The thing just crashed down from the sky. It was scary," Stephanie Grasp said. "They said they just pushed the wrong button, the plane fell in and then they jumped out and the lifeguard saw them."

According to Grasp, the pilot and passenger swam to shore as lifeguards jumped in the water to help them.

"They got out of the plane, they started swimming and we saw them on shore, like catching their breath," Grasp said.

"I jumped into the water with the board, and actually I saw the guys coming out of the plane and jumping in the water," lifeguard Marcel Lopez said. "The first guy said, 'help my partner because he doesn't swim very well,' so I gave the board to one guy, secured the guy and get the other guy, and they started coming in together."

Grasp said the pilot and passenger seemed scared, but they were otherwise OK.

Sky 10 was back above the water at 5 p.m. as boat crews worked to pull the sunken plane to shore.

The single-engine plane is registered to Growl Inc. in Merritt Island. 

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