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Pilot Couldn't Find Airport Before Plane Crash at Florida Mobile Park That Killed 3, NTSB Says

Authorities previously identified the victims as pilot Jemin Patel, Martha Parry and Mary Ellen Pender

<p>Octavio Jones/AFP/Getty</p> Firefighters work to put out a fire after a small plane crashed into the Bayside Waters mobile home park in Clearwater, Fla., on Feb. 1, 2024.

Octavio Jones/AFP/Getty

Firefighters work to put out a fire after a small plane crashed into the Bayside Waters mobile home park in Clearwater, Fla., on Feb. 1, 2024.
  • The pilot of a small plane that crashed in a Clearwater, Florida, mobile home park in February was not able to see the airport before crashing, according to the NTSB

  • A reported fire onboard was among the issues flagged in the report

  • Pilot Jemin Patel, Martha Parry and Mary Ellen Pender were killed in the crash

Federal investigators say that a small plane crashed into a Florida mobile home park last month after the pilot was unable to find the airport.

Pilot Jemin Patel, 54; resident Martha Parry, 87; and Mary Ellen Pender, 54, who was visiting Parry's Clearwater mobile home, died in the Feb. 1 incident, authorities said at the time.

Investigators said the single-engine Beechcraft V35B crashed around 7:07 p.m. local time and was destroyed when it impacted two residences, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board released on Tuesday.

The report said two people at the Clearwater Airpark told investigators that Patel said he couldn't find the airport and had asked them to turn on the runway lights — though they were already on.

<p>Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department/X</p> The small plane crashed at a mobile home park in Clearwater, Fla. on Feb. 1, 2023

Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department/X

The small plane crashed at a mobile home park in Clearwater, Fla. on Feb. 1, 2023

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"They also stated that after the pilot requested a second time to turn the runway lights on, the pilot-controlled runway lighting was changed to the highest intensity," the report added. "Both individuals then heard the pilot announce he had a 'fire.'"

Patel eventually announced he would attempt to land at Albert Whitted Airport since he couldn't find the CLW, per the NTSB. But he then said he was "losing engine."

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The air traffic controller asked Patel if he could see St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, which was three miles ahead of him, but there was no additional communication.

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The report said a pilot flying nearby saw the plane in a 30% to 40% descent, which he described as "an uncontrolled descent." That pilot then said he witnessed a “very bright light.” A passenger in a car described seeing a "fireball."

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"The remains of the extensively heat damaged and impact fragmented wreckage was secured for further examination," the NTSB said.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the cause of a crash is not addressed by preliminary safety board reports. The NTSB typically tries to complete an investigation within 12 to 24 months.

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