Plane was 'sputtering' before Port Orange crash, witness says

Embry-Riddle student dies in crash

PORT ORANGE, Fla. – A small plane was "sputtering" before it crashed into trees in the Spruce Creek Fly In neighborhood in Port Orange on Tuesday night, according to a report released by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Officials from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University said student Nandish Patel, 22, died in the crash and instructor Chase Zinn, 23, was seriously injured and is being treated at Halifax Health Medical Center.

"The families of Nandish and Chase are close in our thoughts and hearts," university officials said.

One man who lives in the neighborhood where the crash happened told deputies that he saw the Cessna 140 in the air then heard it start "sputtering" before it made a hard left turn into the wood line and crashed  in the backyard of a home on Taxiway Echo.

That man and other witnesses pulled Patel out of the plane before first responders arrived. Deputies said they pulled Zinn from the wreckage.

"They hit some trees and it looks like that broke the fall a little bit," a resident told a 911 operator during a seven-minute call.

No bystanders were injured.

The Federal Aviation Authority and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the fatal crash.