A small twin-engine plane crashed, killing four people aboard, near the intersection of Krome Avenue and SW 144th Street in Southwest Miami-Dade County Wednesday afternoon.
The Beechcraft 1900 had taken off from the Miami Executive Airport earlier Wednesday and was headed for Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands when it crashed around 2:30 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.
"Fire crews that were responding noticed a huge black column of smoke in the distance, as soon as they got here it was apparent that it was an airplane, the downed power lines, the damage was consistent to a plane crash, completely engulfed in flames," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Arnold Piedrahita said.
The plane was trying to turn back to Miami Executive after one of the engines may have failed, according to Greg Chin of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.
A friend of the family told NBC 6 that the pilot of the flight was Captain Raul Chirivella, 52. Also on the plane was copilot Roberto Cavaniel along with Juan Carlos Betancourt. All three were from Venezuela. The family friend told NBC 6 the group was in the United States looking for plane parts to take back to Venezuela. Three of the victims worked for a company called Pan Americano.
“The only thing I know that he come to pick up some parts for the airplane in Venezuela, but I don’t know if they make some job here,” said Macario Chirinos, a friend of Chirivella for 30 years. “It was shocking. I mean we didn’t expect that at all. We spoke with him five minutes before he took off.”
A fourth person was on the flight, but has not been identified.
Some 500 gallons of fuel were on board the aircraft, fire officials said. According to Piedrahita, it took so much foam to put out the fire, a foam truck from the nearby airport was brought to the scene.
"Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters investigated the area and unfortunately, sadly, no survivors were found," he said. "It's a small contained area, in the dirt, no structures were affected, no homes, no animals or other bystanders or people on the ground were injured."
The crash initially knocked out power to 537 homes, according to Florida Power and Light. FPL said power was restored to all but four homes within an hour. FPL said one pole was knocked down and another was compromised due to the crash.
Miami-Dade Fire, Miami-Dade Police, and other agencies responded to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the investigation.
As a result of the crash, Krome Avenue between Southwest 136th Street and Southwest 168th Street will be closed until Thursday morning.