Three Pilots and One Student Killed in Florida Aviation Accident
Four Floridians were fatally injured in a two-plane, mid-air collision earlier this week when the single and double-engine light aircraft they were piloting crashed into each other near the border of the Everglades in Miami-Dade County.
At approximately one o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, Knight, 72, Sanchez, 22, Sejwal, 19, and Scarpati, 22, three pilots and one student respectively, are believed to have been participating in aviation training exercises when the Cessna 172 and Piper PA-34 airplanes they were flying collided over the swampland just nine miles west of Miami Executive Airport.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue arrived on-scene shortly after initial calls to 911 came in to dispatchers, as the emergency response team themselves were in the area participating in their own set of training exercises, with particular focus on search & rescues such as these, coincidentally. “Our crews were actually out here this morning, training for incidents just as this in the anticipation of aircraft accidents or incidents,” stated Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Andy Alvarez while speaking with the press. Unfortunately, due to the extreme nature of the collision, there were no survivors.
The victims involved all hailed from Dean International Inc., a thirty-five year-old flight school operating out of Miami, Florida with a checkered history. Excluding the aforementioned plane crash, this educational institution, which was already being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration, has been involved in 29 aircraft accidents within the past ten years, with the most recent occurring in May of this year. Additionally, out of the school’s 50 flying and “functional” airplanes, almost 80% of them had to be grounded due to a number of alarming issues, including loose & missing parts, faulty brakes, and failures to pass routine maintenance checks.
“I am concerned with the quantity of accidents, incidents and these maintenance discrepancies that I see, and I think that the Federal Aviation Administration should really look into this,” former flight instructor Michael Wanek, who was previously employed at Dean International Inc. for five years, expressed in a heartfelt statement to the local ABC news affiliate. “I think any normal person would be concerned when they see the record. What can we do to stop these accidents? What can we do to stop the fatalities?”
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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.