1 person dead, another injured after a small plane crashes in Port LaBelle
One person died and a second was injured after a small plane crashed in Port LaBelle, close to State Road 80 and Collinswood Parkway.
According to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, it happened after 3:30 p.m. The twin-engine passenger plane, a Piper Aerostar 600, crashed approximately 40 yards from the Church of the Good Shepherd.
The sheriff’s office described the victims as two men in their mid-50s to mid-60s. The surviving victim told deputies they believe they had an engine failure before the crash.
The wings were torn apart, and plane parts were scattered across the church lawn, also covered in broken tree branches and leaves.
Terrie Pearce was in shock a plane crashed just steps away from home.
“I was in Fort Myers, and my daughter called me because she lives just a little ways from me,” Pearce explained. “She said, ‘Mom a plane crashed in my backyard,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, right.’ And then she said, ‘No, really,’ and she sent me the picture, and when I saw the mangled plane, and I didn’t think anybody would’ve lived.”
Pearce was grateful someone survived yet devastated it could be a man she might know, and she was heartbroken another took his last breath feet away from her house.
“I just hope they didn’t suffer,” Pearce said. “I hope it was quick.”
Deputies spoke to a man who was in the area when the plane crashed. They said he kept the people in the plane company as they waited, and then, one of the men was pronounced dead shortly afterward.
Everyone was grateful the church was unharmed, and no one was inside at the time of the plane crash.
“I just pray for the family,” Pearce said.
A deputy planned to keep watch over the plane for the rest of Thursday.
The Federal Aviation Administration was unable to respond to the crash scene same day due to traffic causing delays, so the official cause of the crash remains under investigation.