NJ pilot dies after crashing into autism child center in Florida
FORT LAUDERDALE — A plane piloted by a Rahway flight instructor crashed into a therapy center for children with autism on Saturday, killing the pilot and his passenger and injuring a teacher.
A Cessna 335 aircraft crashed into a warehouse around 1:30 pm shortly after takeoff from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. It was headed for Hilliard Airpark in Hilliard, Forida, according to the FAA.
The pilot's wife identified him as Eladio Marquez and said he owned the plane. His Facebook page shows he is a flight instructor. He was flying with a former student.
Battalion Chief Steven Gollan, a spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department, told WPLG-TV that eight teachers and five children were in the building when the plane crashed. One of the teachers suffered minor injuries as she ushered the children from the building, but she was not hospitalized.
Marquez's wife told South Florida's Telemundo station that he had been flying for 12 years and was an instructor for 10.
The pilot of the plane told the tower the left engine caught fire and he was returning to the airport, according to a transcript post by the Telemundo station.
Surveillance video posted by the station showed the plane sliding across the parking lot on its belly into the side of the building in flames.
The NTSB is investigating the crash.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.