EUSTIS, Fla. – Friends are remembering a Lake County pilot who has been identified as one of two victims in this week’s plane crash in South Florida.
“He wanted to make a change in the seaplane world, he thought that there were not enough people getting their seaplane rating,” Juan Londoñosaid.
Londoño is talking about Eustis-based pilot, 34-year-old Antony Yen. Investigators said Yen and a passenger, a student-pilot named Jordan Hall, died Monday when their plane crashed into a home in Miramar.
Manyerenis Moreno, who said she was inside the home at the time of the crash, thought, “It was a transformer, I grabbed the baby because I was afraid something would fall and when I went outside, I saw a plane on top of the roof.”
The news stunned Yen’s friends across the country, including Jordan Trickett who lives near Seattle where Yen lived before he moved to Central Florida.
“I just couldn’t believe it I was in shock. Tony to me has always been invincible, you know he was flying almost every day and you know doing all this fun stuff and living his dream,” Trickett said.
It was a dream that led Yen to become a well-known seaplane pilot, operating out of Tavares and Mount Dora.
“His personality was so awesome, that he maintained his schedule was so full of students and seaplane rides,” Londoño said. “You’re competing with companies that’s been in business since the early 60s, it is hard that has been in business that long.”
Cell phone video shows what a witness said is Yen’s plane taking off from an airport in Pembroke Pines.
Airport personnel told reporters the plane had been undergoing maintenance and had departed on a test flight shortly before it crashed.
Investigators believe it was leaking fuel before it went down.
“We just kind of have to wait to see what actually caused the crash before we make any assumptions, he was a tremendous pilot,” Londoño said.
As the investigation continues, Yen’s friends continue to remember the man they say made them proud and made a difference.
“Just to see how many people he touched, how many people he impacted,” Trickett said. “It’s been massive and that means so much to me, it means so much to his friends and I’m sure his family.”
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