Wing fell off plane before crash, witnesses say

By Emilee Speck – Digital journalist

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student pilot and an instructor were killed Wednesday when a small plane crashed near the Daytona Beach Flea and Farmers Market, officials with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said. 

The plane crashed at 9:54 a.m. near 1496 Tomoka Farms Road, deputies said. Witnesses said the plane lost a wing before crashing south of West International Speedway Boulevard.

“The wing fell off some 150 to 200 yards away from where the plane finally rests in this field behind us,” said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood while standing in front of the wreckage Wednesday.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University officials said the two on board were a student pilot and an instructor.

“It is with profound sadness that I must inform you of an aircraft accident today that resulted in the loss of one of our student pilots as well as a passenger who was a designated pilot examiner with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration,” Dr. P. Barry Butler, ERA president, said in a statement. 

The two people were the only ones on board the Piper PA-28 Cherokee aircraft. They have not been identified.

National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials are en route to investigate the crash. Embry-Riddle officials said they are cooperating with authorities.

“The witnesses that we’re interviewing say this happened very quickly,” Chitwood said. “No distress call was sent out as we can tell right now.”