Courtesy ABC News
The pilot whose plane crashed-landed on a Florida beach Sunday, killing a man and his daughter who were walking along the shore, "never saw them" during his frantic efforts to land the stalled single-engine plane, according to his statement released today.
"It was only after I landed and we exited the plane that I realized that there were people on the beach," Karl Kokomoor said in his statement, which Pastor Victor Willis of Englewood UnitedMethodist Church read at a news conference outside his Englewood, Florida, church.
READ: Girl Hit by Plane on Beach Dies
Ommy Irizarry, 36, and his daughter, Oceana Irizarry, 9, were walking along the beach in Sarasota County, Florida, when the small plane made an emergency crash landing along the shore around 2:45 p.m. ET Sunday, killing the Georgia man on impact, Sarasota County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Wendy Rose said. Oceana, a fourth-grader, died of her injuries the next day.
"Words cannot express the sorrow I feel ...," Kokomoor said in his statement, before citing Ommy's surviving wife by name. "I send my heartfelt apologies to the Irizarry family for my role in this tragic accident, and I will keep Rebecca Irizarry and her family in my prayers for as long as I live."
The frantic moments after a single engine plane crashed on a Florida beach were captured on scanner traffic as first responders raced to the scene.
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"We've got Caspersen Beach, airplane crash, multiple subjects around the plane. Advising head injuries," scanner traffic said a few minutes after the crash. "They are advising open head injury."
A trauma alert was called in approximately 20 minutes later when authorities reached the site of the crash and found the child with a head injury.
"This is going to be a trauma alert," a man's voice says around 3:03 pm.
Someone else asks dispatch if a flight is on standby to take the child to the hospital.
"Confirmed, flight on standby," the dispatcher replies. "Command, Is this for the adult or for the child?"
"This is going to be for the child," a responder replies.
Neither pilot Kokomoor, 57, of Englewood, Florida, nor the passenger on the plane, David Theen, 60, also of Englewood, were injured in the landing, Rose said. From the moment the pilot radioed a distress call to the time he landed on the beach unfolded quickly.
"The pilot radioed that he was not going to be able to make it back to the airport, and he was going to try to land on the hard-packed sand of the beach," Rose said. "He landed about the water's edge and the pilot and his male passenger were both unharmed."
Venice Mayor John Holic, a former air traffic controller, said it is likely the plane lost power in flight and was trying to land in an open space or at nearby Venice Airport.
"One of the first things that you learn when you're flying is to always be aware of your surroundings and where you may be able to touch down in the event of loss of power. A beach is a viable place," he told ABC News.
A woman who witnessed the crash was also taken to a hospital after having stress-induced cardiac issues not directly related to the crash, according to Rose.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on their way to the scene of the accident to begin investigating, in cooperation with the FAA.
Pilot who crashed on Florida beach 'never saw' victims below
Courtesy ABC News
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