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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
Transportation

Witness: Engine of plane that killed two people in Venice was quiet

TBO.com staff
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The engine was silent as a small plane crash-landed and killed two people in Venice, a witness said.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report about the July 27 Caspersen Beach accident that claimed the lives of a 36-year-old Army sergeant from Georgia and his 9-year-old daughter. The two were vacationing with family members.

While walking along the beach, Ommy and Oceana Irizarry were struck by pieces of the Piper aircraft or debris, officials said the day of the crash. Ommy died that day, while Oceana was taken to All Children’s Hospital and died days later.

A witness told Venice police he was standing about 50 yards south of Ommy and Oceana, the National Transportation Safety Board said. He said the engine made no noise.

“(The witness) watched the airplane descend toward a group of people. It cleared half of the group, but apparently did not clear all of them,” the NTSB’s report says.

The plane’s pilot, Karl Kokomoor, 57, told the Federal Aviation Administration the plane hadn’t been flown in the 3 1/2 months before he and a neighbor departed on July 27. Kokomoor, from Englewood, told officials the plane climbed to 1,000 feet into the air after a normal takeoff. However, as the plane approached Venice, the engine stopped working about 10 to 15 minutes into the flight, the safety board said.

Kokomoor announced the emergency over the radio and began a forced landing, officials said. He was concerned the plane would flip over if he landed in the water and tried to avoid groups of people he saw along the beach, the safety board said.

Kokomoor didn’t realize he had hit anybody until after he had landed and a woman asked for his cell phone to call for help, the safety board’s report says.

Ommy and Oceana Irizarry stood in about 4 feet of water when the plane stopped about 200 feet from them, Ommy’s wife, Rebecca, told authorities. Rebecca told officials she and a friend pulled the victims from the water. Neither victim was breathing, she said.

Authorities are still trying to find out why the engine stopped working.

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