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Cape man injured in plane crash off Siesta Key

August 13, 2014
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

A Cape Coral man was injured Tuesday when a plane he was in crashed off Siesta Key.

At about 12:15 p.m., a Pitts S-2B aircraft landed upside down in the water off of the coast of Siesta Key beach. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were two people on board.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office identified the pilot of the plane as Earle F. Swan, 75, of Bradenton. His sole passenger was identified as Martin S. Thomas, 51, of the Cape.

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A Cape Coral resident and another man sustained minor injuries Tuesday when their plane crashed off of Siesta Key.

"Shortly after departure from (the) Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, the pilot contacted radar controllers in Tampa to report an engine problem," Kathleen Bergen, an FAA spokeswoman, said.

"He said that he would land on the beach," she added.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the plane at the rear of the 7900 block of Sanderling Road.

"The pilot was not injured, but the passenger was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital with a minor laceration," Wendy Rose, a spokeswoman for the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, said.

Hospital officials reported that they could not provide an update on Thomas' condition.

Rose noted that he was expected to be treated and released.

According to the FAA Registry, the plane is a fixed wing single-engine aircraft manufactured by Christen Industries. The registered owner is Anthony T. Nourse, of 5112 Inverness Drive, Sarasota.

Nourse did not return a message Tuesday seeking comment on the incident.

Neither Swan nor Thomas could be reached for comment.

A representative from the FAA's Fight Standards District Office responded to the crash.

"The FAA is investigating," Bergen said.

It is the third small plane crash reported within weeks in the region.

On July 27, Ommy Irizarry and his daugher, Oceana, 9, both of Fort Stewart, Georgia, were walking along Caspersen Beach in Venice when a 1972 Piper Cherokee plane made an emergency landing after reporting problems. Officials said the pilot radioed the airport that he was going to land on the beach.

When the plane crash-landed, it struck the two. Ommy Irizarry died at the scene.

Oceana was airlifted to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where she died two days later.

According to reports from the Associated Press, the pilot was identified as Karl Kokomoor, 57, and his passenger as David Theen, 60, both of Englewood. They were not injured in the accident.

At 5:52 p.m. July 16, the Lee County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about a small plane crashing off of Upper Captiva Island, into the Gulf of Mexico. A team of divers responded to the wreckage.

"The divers located the body of the pilot, and through an extensive search, were able to determine that (he) was alone in the airplane when it went down," a prepared statement from the LCSO said.

The pilot was identified as Gregg Howard, 62, of 122 N.E. Nina St., St. Petersburg.

The Medical Examiner's Office later determined that his official cause of death was drowning.



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