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Plane Crash in Vero Beach, FL, Kills Brother and Sister

June 17, 2011

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June 17, 2011

On Thursday, June 9, a 21-year-old pilot and her 24-year-old brother both died when the Cessna 152 that they’d rented nosedived into a swampy, remote area of Vero Beach, Florida. A preliminary federal report has revealed that the plane was out of control before the crash.

The brother and sister, who were visiting the U.S. from Scotland, rented the plane from Merritt Island’s Space Coast Aviation and departed from Merritt Island Airport at 10:13 a.m.  They were headed to Okeechobee, Florida, and were scheduled to return to the Merritt Island Airport by 2 p.m. The pilot, who was a student at Scotland’s Buckinghamsire New University, was given a restricted pilot certification last month because of her training with the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority.

According to, airport personnel called the pilot’s cell phone at 3 p.m. and also checked with other area airports to see if the plane had landed there. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a formal alert notice and began a search at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday night.

The location of the crash site--near Yeehaw Junction--was discovered by tracking the signal from one of the victims’ cell phones. At 2 a.m. on Friday, June 10, the wreckage and bodies were found by search crews on foot. The wings were still attached to the fuselage but damage was found along the leading edges.

The plane has been shipped to Atlanta for inspection. The National Transportation Safety Board will comb through available information to determine the cause of the crash.

A full report on the plane crash will have to wait another 12 to 18 months as the investigation continues.

Read more.

Do you think pilot certification acquired in other countries should suffice in the United States, too?

If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, contact the national aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy.

Photo courtesy of Treasure Coast Newspapers

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