Captiva, FL.- The Lee County Sheriff's Office sent a release Saturday positively identifying 62 year-old Gregg Howard as the pilot, who crashed off Upper Captiva Wednesday night.
The Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was drowning. WINK News previously confirmed Howard was from St. Petersburg and owned property on the island.
Wednesday, the sheriff's office received a 911 call around 5:50 p.m. in reference to a small plane crash. The sheriff's office sent a group of divers to the wreckage, where they located the body.
Investigators do not know what caused the plane to crash, but the majority of the plane was intact. The FAA said the plane was trying to land at the Salty Approach Aiport after it departed from Page Field. The grass airstrip is just 500 yards, and people who live on Upper Captiva said landing becomes an issue when it rains.
"The wheels don't have enough friction to land a plane and to control it. If you are coming in too fast, you will lose control of the airplane and it doesn't stop fast enough," said Mike Fariancci.
Salvage operations began Friday to bring the Piper PA-32 aircraft back to shore. The NTSB said the plane was taken to a secure facility in the Orlando area to be processed.
According to our partners at the News-Press, North Captiva has been the scene of many airplane crashes over the years.
April 19, 1990: Karl Drews of the San Carlos Park Fire Department and Andy Anderson of the Upper Captiva Fire Department crashed and died.
Feb. 28, 2003: A Palm Harbor pilot died when his small plane crashed after taking off from the island.
June 1, 2004: Two men escaped injury when their Cessna 172 crashed off Upper Captiva Island. They swam to shore.
March 10, 2006: A single-engine Beech Musketeer airplane crashed during an attempted landing at the airstrip. The pilot and passenger were not injured.