A 9-year-old girl who was struck by a plane that crash-landed on a beach while she vacationed with her family has died from her injuries, law enforcement officials in Florida said Tuesday.
Oceana Irizzary's father also was killed Sunday. The two, of Fort Stewart, Georgia, were walking along Caspersen Beach in Venice on Sunday afternoon when the 1972 Piper Cherokee plane made an emergency landing after reporting problems.
"Our precious Oceana has joined her daddy in heaven," the family said in a statement Tuesday.
Ommy Irizarry, an Army sergeant celebrating his ninth anniversary with wife Rebecca, died at the scene Sunday. His daughter was airlifted to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday morning that they were notified by the medical examiner's office of the girl's death.
"There are no words to describe the suffering we are experiencing. Their loss is devastating to our family and to everyone who knew them. Thank you to our many loved ones, friends and strangers for your outpouring of love and prayers," the family's statement read. "Although they are gone, Ommy and Oceana live on through organ donation. Forever, they will be in our hearts. To all of those who helped us on the beach and medical personnel, thank you for your efforts to save them."
It was unclear how the plane or the debris hit the father and his daughter. Officials say the pilot radioed the airport that he was having trouble with the plane and was planning to land on the beach.
"He's trying to make the airport," a woman calling 911 from the airport said. "He says he's not going to make the airport. But he's going to be on the beach."
In other 911 calls, a family friend cried as she described the scene while screams and wailing could be heard in the background. Another man told a dispatcher about the little girl's condition.
"She's breathing a little right now," a man said. "Rapid pulse and difficult breathing. She's unconscious."
The pilot was identified as Karl Kokomoor, 57, and the passenger was David Theen, 60, both of nearby Englewood. They were not injured.
The sheriff's office is conducting the death investigation while the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.