Plane crashes in Merritt Island backyard, killing 2

John Brian Kish, Kenneth Allen Marks die in crash, Brevard sheriff's officials say

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - Two people were killed Monday night when a single-engine plane crashed into the backyard of a Merritt Island home, officials said.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday said 47-year-old John Brian Kish and 64-year-old Kenneth Allen Marks, both of Merritt Island, died in the crash, which happened around 8:35 p.m. on Paula Avenue, about 10 feet from a house.

Deputies said the plane took off from Merritt Island Airport for a test flight as Marks was interested in purchasing the plane from Kish.

"I knew it was in trouble right away," said Thom Brophy, who saw the plane go down and called 911. "It just basically (sounded) like a backfire and then engine failure."

Witnesses said the plane was 200-400 feet above the ground before it crashed. The plane nearly struck a home owned by Kurt Smith.

"I shut the door behind me, two seconds later a big boom and the house shook," said Smith, who was inside his home when the crash occurred.

Smith said he was outside seconds before the crash to bring his dogs inside from the backyard.

"Things happen for a reason.  Somebody was watching out for us. We are very thankful it didn't strike into our home or hurt one of us," Smith said.

Smith said he rushed to check on the victims before calling 911.

"It's not an easy thing to see that," he said.  "Honestly, I've never been in the situation to see that. I knew to stay calm and check for signs of life and, unfortunately, I didn't see that."

An 11-year-old boy also witnessed the crash.

"I didn't see much until I got out of the house.  We heard a big boom.  The power went out, and then I walked over and I saw a little white plane had crashed right there," said Colton Primeaux.  "It came straight down into the backyard."

Officials said a power line was knocked down in the crash, leaving eight homes without power.  No other injuries were reported and no homes were damaged.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Officials said it doesn't appear that the victims called for help when they realize their plane was going down.

About 90 minutes later, another plane crashed in Daytona Beach, about 80 miles away, killing a student pilot and instructor.

Watch Local 6 and for updates on this developing story.

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