small plane crash

‘Doing What He Loved': Miami Bridge Plane Crash Victim Identified as Air Traffic Controller

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said the 36-year-old served as NATCA’s local facility representative at Miami International Airport since Oct. 1, 2019

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The victim of Saturday's fiery plane crash on the Haulover Inlet Bridge has been identified as a veteran Miami air traffic controller.

Narciso Torres, 36, was onboard a single-engine Cessna 172 that burst into flames Saturday after crash landing and hitting an SUV on the Haulover Inlet Bridge, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

“This is a terrible tragedy that has sent shock waves throughout our NATCA (National Air Traffic Controllers Association) family,” NATCA President Rich Santa said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to Narciso’s wife, Jennifer, his entire family, and the many fellow Union brothers and sisters that loved him so much and are now dealing with an unspeakable loss."

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said the 36-year-old served as NATCA’s local facility representative at Miami International Airport since October 2019 and had worked as an air traffic controller at MIA since June 2015.

“Like so many thousands of our members, Narciso had such a deep love of all things aviation, and of flying, as evidenced by this flight on a beautiful South Florida day where he was doing what he loved," Santa said " This loss hurts so deeply. Narciso will never be forgotten.”

Torres began his career with the Federal Aviation Administration in 2008 in Orlando, and had also worked in New York.

FAA officials said there were three people on board the single-engine Cessna 172 when it lost engine power and crashed onto the bridge, hitting a vehicle with three people inside.

NBC 6's Ryan Nelson spoke to a witness of a small plane crash on Haulover bridge.

Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said the plane was involved in a head-on crash with the SUV, which caused the plane to flip over.

The two other people were able to get out of the plane and were hospitalized.

A woman and two toddlers who were in the SUV that was hit on the bridge were also hospitalized but did not suffer serious injuries.

The bridge was reopened to traffic on Sunday as inspectors were taking a look to make sure there was no structural damage.

“The bridge is made mostly out of concrete and the concrete gets impacted by the heat of the fire," said Al Brizuela, a contractor and professional engineer. “You’re gonna get hydration or dehydration of the bridge, usually it's gonna lose some strength."

Brizuela said the bridge could possibly lose up to 10% of its strength but probably not enough damage to be considered unsafe.

The crash is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Read more about the deadly crash here.

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