DeLAND, Fla. – Video and 911 calls released Monday illustrate the fiery aftermath and sheer panic caused when a small plane spiraled out of the sky and crashed into a wooded area, killing three people.
Multiple people who live in the area or were driving nearby called 911 at about 4 p.m. Sunday when they witnessed the aircraft's descent.
"It was a dual-engine plane. He was heading north, and I could still see him. He just fell right out of the sky and nosedived in the ground," a man said.
Others said they heard noises from the engine and knew something was wrong.
"I heard it sputtering and I seen it just go out of control, and it went down and I heard it, " another caller said.
For some, the sound of what they described as an explosion was all they witnessed.
"I was pumping gas and I heard it once it blew. It went boom - a big explosion," a man said.
After the aircraft went down, locating the wreckage was much more difficult. Most callers knew the Cessna 421 went down in some woods and could see the smoke but couldn't pinpoint an exact location, other than knowing it was near State Road 44 and Grand Avenue.
Still, witnesses were determined to try to help before first responders arrived. Multiple 911 callers said bystanders with Jeeps and other off-road vehicles, including an off-duty EMT, were driving into the woods to try to locate any survivors.
Volusia County Sheriff's Office video shows the destroyed plane was in flames when deputies arrived. Just seconds after they approached the scene and started yelling commands, a loud pop sent them running in the opposite direction.
About 20 seconds after that there was another pop that was just as loud.
"Sheriff's Office, if anyone's in there announce yourself," a deputy yelled while taking cover behind a tree.
Eventually, deputies and good Samaritans approached the wreckage again and started pulling at the paneling surrounding the cockpit.
"We can't get him out from here," a rescuer said.
Video shows the plane was split in half and there were still flames near the front.
About 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the video, a body is pulled from the plane, but the effort wasn't over after that.
"Let's go to the other side, let's rip this door off. Come on," a man said.
Deputies said pilot Armand Girouard, 27, Ernendro Philippe, 32, and 34-year-old Shawna Carbonaro died in the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the crash and are now investigating.