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Saturday, Nov 29, 2014
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U.S. Army sergeant killed in Caspersen Beach plane crash


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The Georgia man killed in a Venice plane crash Sunday afternoon was a sergeant in the United States Army.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation and Safety Board are investigating the crash this afternoon. Officials expect the process of dismantling the plane to take several hours.

Ommy Irizarry, 36, was stationed at Ft. Stewart, Ga. He was walking along Caspersen Beach with his daughter when a small Piper aircraft crash landed feet from the surf, Sarasota County authorities said. They were hit by the plane or debris.

Irizarry’s 9-year-old daughter, Oceana, remains in critical condition. BayFlite transported the girl to All Children’s Hospital. Oceana is from Georgia, though officials did not provide a city.

Irizarry’s mother sustained medical issues unrealated to the crash and was treated and released from Venice Regional Bayfront Health, said Wendy Rose, a spokeswoman for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Neither the pilot, 57-year-old Karl Kokomoor, and his passenger, 60-year-old David Theen, were injured. Both men are from Englewood.

Rose said events started unfolding around 2:45 p.m. Sunday when the Venice Municipal Airport received a distress call that the plane couldn’t make it back to the airport.

The pilot “knew he couldn’t make it back to the airport and was going to try to land on the beach. And he did land at the edge of the water on the beach,” Rose said.

The plane reportedly lost power, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

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