When a small twin-engine plane fell from the sky in Fort Lauderdale last week, the 911 calls came flooding in.
“There’s smoke and there’s fire. It just blew up,” one woman said.
“A plane just crashed!” a second woman told a 911 dispatcher, who replied, “Pardon me?” “A plane just crashed!” the woman repeated.
The witness, who was driving, reported “there’s huge smoke, black smoke, coming out” of the aircraft, and gave the approximate location just off Powerline Road.
“Right now what I can see is that it crashed into – oh, my God. I don’t think there’s any survivors, Ma’am,” she said.
A moment later, she screamed.
"I need to get out of the way,” she said. "Be careful, OK?" the dispatcher told her. "It's exploding, I need to get out of the way," the woman replied.
All three people aboard – pilot Steven Waller, 65, of Deerfield Beach, and Wallis “Wally” Watson, 66, of Boca Raton and Kevin Watson, 30, of Pompano Beach – were killed when the plane, a Piper Cheyenne PA-31T, crashed in the parking lot of RJ Asset Recovery last Friday afternoon. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
Fort Lauderdale Police released 19 emergency calls on the crash on Wednesday. In the 911 recordings, some witnesses, including the woman driver, reported that the plane hit a building – but authorities have said it actually collided with parked vehicles in the parking lot.
Firefighters quickly arrived to fight fires on numerous vehicles. On the 911 calls, the sirens of first responders can be heard in the background within minutes of impact.
The dispatcher told the woman she didn’t need to be in the way of danger, and the woman agreed and said she had moved.
“They’re still exploding, they’re trying to exit people out of the nearest businesses,” she added. “I’m going to help and tell everybody to get out.”
Another driver, on I-95, said it looked like the plane was trying to get back to the airport.
“I’m on 95. I saw the plane banking towards the south, and he just got too steep for right then,” the man said.
He reported the black smoke and fire, and that it was a twin-engine plane.
“I didn’t get to see the N-numbers, but he was turning hard, hard he was turning, and then he just lost it,” the witness said. “He went straight in.”
The funeral services for Wally Watson and Kevin Watson will be held Friday at 1: 30 p.m. at Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Fort Lauderdale, the funeral home said.