1 dead, 1 hurt after small plane crashes into Port Orange backyard, officials say

FAA, NTSB to investigate crash

PORT ORANGE, Fla. – One man died and another was rushed to a hospital after the small plane they were riding in crashed in the Spruce Creek Fly In neighborhood in Port Orange on Tuesday night, according to Volusia County Fire Rescue.

“The plane was on takeoff and something went wrong,” nearby resident Austin Mitchell said. “I heard an engine stall out and start back up and the plane crashed into the empty lot next to me.”

Mitchell said he was standing outside when he saw the plane crash not far from his house, then he ran to the plane and immediately started helping a man who was inside. 

“I started pulling him out. His face was pretty messed up," Mitchell said. 

Volusia County Fire Rescue officials said the call came in around 7:30 p.m. Firefighters said the plane, which the Federal Aviation Administration identified as a Cessna 140, went down in the backyard of a home on Taxiway Echo.

Investigators said one man was pronounced dead at the scene. The other is in an area hospital in critical condition.

Mitchell said it was truly a community effort to help the two men inside the plane.

“Honestly, it was not a one-man job,” he said. “To relieve the weight of the plane on the passengers, it took all of us.”

No one else in the neighborhood was hurt, fire investigators said.

Volusia County Fire Rescue has turned over the crash scene to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The FAA and NTSB will investigate..

At least a dozen other incidents have been reported to the NTSB in the past decade involving aircraft flying in and out of Spruce Creek. 

• In November 2006, a flight instructor and student were killed when their plane ran out of fuel while trying to make an emergency landing at Spruce Creek airport.

• A pilot was killed when his plane plunged into a field near the airport in March 2007. NTSB investigators believe the pilot failed to maintain airspeed while taking off from Spruce Creek, causing an engine to stall.

• Six months later, an aircraft landing at Spruce Creek collided with another plane taking off. Investigators concluded that the departing aircraft, which was never located, did not conduct a proper visual lookout. No one was injured.

• On New Year's Eve 2008, the pilot of a Cessna 180K made a hard landing after failing to compensate for wind conditions, records show.

• In July 2010, an aircraft’s landing gear collapsed as it came to rest in the grass, just off the runway. The NTSB blamed the incident on pilot error.

• An airplane crashed into a hangar while attempting to land at Spruce Creek in March 2013. Pilot error was cited in an investigative report.

• The following month, a student pilot experienced an unexplained power loss during takeoff. The plane was damaged when it crashed at the end of the runway but the pilot was not injured.

• Exactly one year later, in April 2014, an airplane rolled off the runway and splashed into a pond during landing. No one was injured.

• Five months later, a flight instructor and student suffered minor injuries when their aircraft ran out of fuel while on final approach to the airport.

• On Dec. 12, 2016, a plane owned by a Spruce Creek resident crashed in a wooded area just south of the airport, sparking a small brush fire. The pilot walked away with only minor injuries. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

• Two weeks later, two people were killed when their experimental, amateur-built aircraft crashed feet away from a home inside the Spruce Creek community. The NTSB is still investigating what caused the plane to go down during final approach.

• A pilot and passenger were severely injured shortly after takeoff on Feb. 24, 2017 when their plane crashed nearby, destroying the aircraft.

• On April 1, 2017, two pilots were killed after their planes collided mid-air about three minutes after departing Spruce Creek. A total of five aircraft were flying in formation when the incident occurred, according to the NTSB.

Only seven other Florida airports had more reported incidents over the past decade, including the record 21 incidents reported at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. 

NTSB records do not suggest anything particular to the Spruce Creek airport was to blame for the incidents that occurred at or near the Fly In neighborhood.

About the Authors:

Dawn is a Digital Content Editor who has been with Graham Media Group since April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.