Florida mobile home park erupts into flames after small plane crash
A small plan crashed into a mobile home park, setting the area ablaze and resulting in "several" deaths in Clearwater, Florida, on Thursday night. (Credit: Rick Renner / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX)
The three people who were killed when a small plane crashed into a mobile home in Clearwater, Florida, on Thursday have been identified, police said Saturday.
The plane, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza V35, crashed into a residential area around 7 p.m. local time, sparking a fire that damaged multiple surrounding homes in Bayside Estates, a large mobile home community. Video from the scene shows a massive fireball erupting from the park.
The pilot, who was the only person traveling in the plane, died. He has been named as Jemin Patel, 54, from Melbourne Beach, Florida, the Clearwater Police Department said.
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The two other victims were on the ground when the plane crashed. They have been named as Clearwater resident Martha Parry, 86, who lived in the park, and Mary Ellen Pender, 54, who was visiting the mobile home.
As many as nine people had been inside the mobile home on Pagoda Drive shortly before the plane crash, but all but two had left the residence, police say.
“Our thoughts are with the three victims and their families; this tragedy could have been even worse,” Police Chief Eric Gandy said via a statement on Facebook.
The police department will maintain the scene into Saturday when the wreckage is expected to be removed by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The plane had taken off from Vero Beach earlier in the day.
Patel had reported “some trouble” to air traffic controllers at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport just before the crash, while the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that he had reported an “engine failure,” CBS News reported.
The pilot involved reported engine trouble before slamming into a mobile home park. (Credit: Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department)
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A released audio recording offered clues to what happened before the deadly plane crash.
In audio from an air traffic control tower, obtained by FOX 13, the pilot is heard conversing with the tower before the deadly crash.
“I can’t see the other airport,” the pilot is heard saying. “I’m losing an engine.”
“Oh, f—,” the pilot said.
In the audio, another pilot who witnessed the crash is heard reacting to the fiery collision that decimated multiple mobile homes.
“They went down hard,” the pilot said following the crash. “They’re in flames.”
“It looks like there was a structure fire. Looks like he went into a building,” he added.
Residents at the Bayside Waters watched EMS personnel respond after the small plane crashed into a mobile home park in Clearwater, Florida. (OCTAVIO JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
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In the three-and-a-half–minute recording, the pilot who witnessed the crash can be heard trying to pinpoint the exact location of where the plane went down.
“He is definitely into a house, a whole house is demolished,” the pilot said. “I just saw him going down at an extremely high rate of speed.”
During a news conference Thursday evening, Clearwater Fire Chief Scott Ehlers said that the fire spread to three other homes.
Michael Dorgan is a writer for Fox News Digital and Fox Business.
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