Mid-Air Collision in Everglades Claims Four

A probe is underway.


BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. --

Rescue crews have found the wreckage of two planes that crashed in the Everglades on Saturday.

A U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter spotted three areas of debris approximately 2.7 miles southwest of Holiday Park at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday.

On Monday morning, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Broward Sheriff's Office used airboats to search the crash site for victims and clues into what caused the crash.

"Once the aircraft is out, we'll start laying it out and try to find the order that the aircraft collided. We'll use that with radar data to find out what happened at the time," said Eric Alleyne of the NTSB.

Finding answers, however, won't be easy.

"It's a dense marsh, it's the Everglades," Alleyne said.

Its believed the two aircraft, a single-engine Cessna 172 and twin-engine Piper PA-44 Seminole, took off from North Perry and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International airports, respectively, late Saturday afternoon. Both planes headed for the practice airspace over the Everglades, and they crashed midair, officials said.

At some point, the FAA was notified that the planes, operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), were overdue from training flights.

The NTSB said an emergency locator transmitter sounded, alerting authorities to the crash, and a radar indicated that the planes struck each other.

Officials said two people were aboard each plane and the four are presumed dead.

The FAA told Local 10 it appeared both were participating in training exercises when they collided midair.

Investigators from the NTSB and the county medical examiner left early Monday on airboats to look through the three debris fields located about 3 miles southwest of Everglades Holiday Park.