Two-plane crash in Florida kills four

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Four people were killed on Saturday when two small planes collided in midair over the Florida Everglades.

Broward County Sheriff's Office is reporting that the dead include Bryan Sax, 37, of Aspen, Colorado, Andrew Marc Rossignol, 21, of Stuart, Florida, Stuart Brown, 25, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, and Edson Jefferson, 30, of Miramar, Florida.

The accident happened Saturday afternoon 2.7 miles southwest of Everglades Holiday Park, according to Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright.

A Cessna 172, similar to one of the planes involved in the accident.
Image: Arnaud 25.

Both planes took off from their respective airports at 3:30 PM Eastern Time (20:30 UTC). Rossignol and Sax were flying in a 1979 twin-engine Piper PA-44 Seminole, from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which was headed to a practice area near Opa-locka Airport, when they collided with Brown and Jefferson, who were flying a 1997 single-engine Cessna 172R that had departed from North Perry Airport.

Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, has stated that neither pilot filed a flight plan, which was not required, because the planes were flying under visual flight rules, meaning that pilots were responsible to watch for other planes.

The owners of the two planes reported them missing early Sunday after they failed to return. Florida state officials were made aware of the accident, and the search began. A Coast Guard Dolphin search-and-rescue helicopter discovered three separate debris fields at 8:00 AM, according to Coleman-Wright. Following this discovery, the Sheriff's Office deployed air boats into the area due to accessibility issues.

The bodies were recovered and identified by Monday morning, much to the relief of some relatives. Rohan Brown, cousin of Stuart Brown commented that "the whole family is thankful for that."

Both Brown and Jefferson were originally from Jamaica, and Brown aspired to fly for his country's airline.

Sax, taking advanced flight training, was the passenger in the Piper.

Piloting the Piper was Rossignol, who grew up in Biddeford, Maine, and was following in the family profession as his father, Richard Rossignol, is a commercial airline pilot for Continental Airlines.

His brother Matt Rossignol said that "he loved flying because my father's a pilot. He wanted to become a commercial airline pilot and sit next to my dad, as co-pilot."