Rescue workers responded after a small plane carrying three people crashed in West Broward County Monday afternoon.
A pilot and two passengers were on board the small plane when it crashed off of US-27 just north of Griffin Road near the Florida Everglades, Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue officials said.
The plane was about 16 miles from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport when it went down around 12:45 p.m., FAA officials said.
Footage showed the badly damaged plane resting in a ditch between a canal and a dirt road. Rescue crews were seen peeling back the front of the plane in an effort to rescue a person trapped inside.
The pilot, Alexander Townsend, was airlifted to the hospital as a trauma alert. The other two victims were taken by ground to Broward Health Medical Center, but have since been released.
Broward Sheriff's Office spokesman Mike Jachles said a helicopter pilot saw the plane go down and reported it to authorities.
"There was a man standing on the wing in distress, so we landed the helicopter," said Clem Carfaro, pilot who witnessed what happened.
"Fortunately, there was no fire with the wreckage. That certainly was on our side and the two passengers that were able to get out on their own was good news as well," Jachles said.
The two passengers are lawyers, Robert Spohrer and Steve Browning. NBC 6 spoke to their law partner, Barry Newman, over the phone.
"Everything here came to a grinding halt until we were reassured that our partners were safe," Newman said.
The attorneys managed to get out of the plane, but Townsend was still trapped inside. Rescue crews had to cut him out of the cockpit. His feet were tangled, so it took about 30 minutes to carefully get him out.
"They had to work to remove that cockpit from around his legs without aggravating his injuries," Jachles explained.
The plane was heading to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport from Jacksonville, BSO officials said.
The Piper fixed wing multi-engine plane is owned by the Spohrer & Dodd Aviation LLC company based out of Jacksonville. The firm is not yet commenting on the crash.