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New Smyrna Beach Plane Crash Likely Due to Bad Weather

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on February 10, 2015

Weather can be a challenge for anyone operating a small airplane. Wind, rain, clouds and other weather-related phenomena can have a significant impact on a pilot’s ability to operate a small plane. Authorities are trying to determine if weather was a factor in a Florida plane crash that killed a 38-year-old Japanese woman.

Law enforcement officials believe Mihoko Tabata took off in a Cessna 152 from Massey Ranch Airpark in Edgewater, Florida around 9 p.m. on January 15. The weather was foggy that day.

The plane went down on New Smyrna Beach about 20 feet from the shore. Nobody appears to have witnessed the crash, but one man said he heard the crash as it occurred. Tabata was the only person inside the plane. Her body was found floating in the water after the crash. She was pronounced dead at the scene. An initial autopsy report indicated that she died from injuries sustained in the crash and not from a medical emergency.

Tabata was a Japanese resident but had lived off and on in the United States for several years, according to reports. The Japanese consulate was informed of her death so it could notify her family.

Officials from Federation Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the crash. They are focusing on thick fog that was reported at the time of the accident and trying to determine if Tabata was unaware of her elevation at the time of the accident.

When the accident occurred, Tabata was talking with the tower at Daytona Beach and wanted the tower to help her determine the location of the nearest airport. She said she was having difficulty navigating in the fog. Tabata’s last communication with the tower was when the plane was located about five miles from the New Smyrna Beach Airport.

An official from the National Transportation Safety Board did not want to speculate publically on the cause of the accident. Normally, an initial crash investigation report is released by the board six to eight weeks after an accident. If nothing complicates the investigation, a full report in released in about six months.

Have you been injured in a Florida aviation accident? If so, contact James O. Cunningham, P.A. today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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