Tuesday, March 10, 2015

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes In Fort Myers, Florida - Two People In Serious Condition!


March 10, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- Two people were pulled from a crumpled single-engine plane that crashed in a parking lot on its approach to Page Field general aviation airport early Monday afternoon.

Fort Myers police have identified them as Gregory Piehl, 59, of St. Petersburg and Donna Piehl, 85, of Estero. They are listed in serious condition, according to Lee Memorial Health System.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating why the four-seat 1959 Piper Comanche landed behind the White Sands Treatment Center at 1820 Colonial Blvd., roughly a mile from the Runway 13 at Page Field general aviation airport.

Fort Myers Fire Department extracted the pilot, Gregory, who was able to walk while the passenger, Donna, had to be placed on a gurney. Both were conscious when emergency personnel arrived.

Jim Peters, of the Federal Aviation Administration, which had an investigator on site, said the identity of the passengers would be released by local authorities. The NTSB also referred questions of who was piloting the plane to local authorities.

The Fort Myers Police Department, who provided traffic control when the plane first went down and secured the scene for federal authorities, did not release the name of occupants of the plane Monday night.

The plane is registered to Ralph Lennen from Pahrump, Nev. Lennen also has a New Port Richey address. Calls to a number attributed to Lennen, who does hold a pilot's license, were not answered.

Linda Lennen, Ralph Lennen's ex-wife in California, said he may have sold the plane "weeks or months" ago. Despite that, she said Lennen's daughter was trying to reach her father.








Shown a News-Press photo of the purported pilot of the plane, Linda Lennen said it was not her ex-husband.

Landon Watson, the facilities manager at White Sands, heard the crash.

"We actually thought it was the dump truck people," Watson said.

Ten to 15 people work inside of the administrative building, Watson said.

"If it would have hit the building, it would have been complete destruction," Watson said.

Alice Frazer, who lives nearby on Mead Street, said she heard the plane pass overhead and even looked up even though she was inside.

She said she thought, "Wow, is that thing ever flying low." She added that the engine was on when it passed over but she said that she never heard the crunch of the crash.

"I was shocked when I went past and saw all the emergency vehicles," Frazer said. "We haven't had anything happen like this in 25 years."

The plane crash landed at 12:08 p.m. in a fenced-in parking lot behind the White Sands Treatment Center and the Jo-Ann fabric and craft store in South Plaza, northwest of Page Field. A late-model Ford Edge pickup and a Chrysler PT Cruiser and a PODS moving container received damage after they were hit by the plane. The owner of the truck, Craig Giuliano, who works at White Sands, said his truck was "fairly new."







Eastbound traffic on Colonial Boulevard was halted while emergency units worked on the crash scene but was reopened a short time later.

Sanibel resident Mark Twombly writes about aviation, and flies aircraft for private businesses. He was out of town Monday, but after a reporter called, checked out local news websites.

"Just looking at the photos, it looks like the landing was somewhat under control," Twombly said.

Pilots are taught that, if the plane loses power, lower the nose to maintain a minimum air speed.


WATCH: Small plane crashes in Fort Myers.


"If you're too slow, you're just a falling object," Twombly said.

One disadvantage to having airplane trouble shortly before landing or before takeoff "is that you're generally at a lower altitude," said Jessica Stearns. She's a certified commercial flight instructor who formerly flew for the airlines. She was at home in Bonita Springs when the Fort Myers crash occurred.

Higher altitude "gives you a chance to establish a glide and to start troubleshooting," Stearns said.

This isn't the first incident for the plane, according to the NTSB. The plane crashed Sept. 23, 1975 in Guy, Ark. The pilot was at fault in the crash. The plane collided with a fence after engine failure caused by mismanagement of fuel by the pilot, according to the report. - News Press.


No comments: