FAA, NTSB investigating plane crash in Port LaBelle

Published: May 7, 2021 4:34 PM EDT
Updated: May 7, 2021 4:36 PM EDT

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a plane crash that left one person dead and another injured in Hendry County on Thursday afternoon.

Investigators with the agencies will try to determine why the twin-engine passenger plane, a Piper Aerostar 600, barely got off the ground after takeoff and why it went down, striking trees but missing the Church of Good Shepard Episcopal Church.

It could take several weeks or months for investigators to issue a final report on why the plane crashed.

Rev. Elizabeth Nelson never imagined she would see a plane crash, let alone one on her church’s property.

“It is a miracle, sadly someone died, someone was hurt, but I believe in miracles and God was obviously watching over his church,” Nelson said.

The person killed in the crash has not been identified.

However, the survivor is James Mullen, according to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.

Mullen is the owner of Mullen’s Aviation, located at LaBelle Airport, which is close to the crash site.

Nelson said she doesn’t know who Mullen is but she hopes to talk to him and to the family of the person who died.

“Certainly bittersweet,” Nelson said. “So sorry he lost your loved one, but certainly he is in a better place and the gentleman like I said that survived I will certainly welcome him here and invite them here to see the family that we are.”

Nelson said she plans to create a memorial for the person who died.

“You have to know that God was there too. God was with that person that died and the person that was going to the hospital,” Nelson added.