A South Florida businessman and experienced pilot died over the weekend when his Cessna crashed in the Everglades.
Paul S. Soulé, 75, left Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Saturday for Leesburg International Airport in Central Florida when his plane went down. It was found in the Arthur R. Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge Reserve just west of Boynton Beach.
Soulé was attempting to navigate around a thunderstorm when the accident occurred, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
He had radioed air traffic controllers about malfunctioning instruments before the crash. Aviation officials received reports of the crash around 1:25 p.m. Saturday.
The remote location hindered rescue efforts and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue workers were not able to reach the site until hours later.
Knudson said the aircraft would be removed from the scene by the end of the day Monday. A preliminary report would be on the NTSB website within 10 business days, but it will not “point to specific causes or factors, but will lay out the circumstances of the incident,” Knudson said.
According to his website, Soulé had more than 18,000 hours of “accident and incident-free flying” over a career that spanned nearly 60 years.
During a March flight, Soule’s landing gear failed but he managed to safely crash-land, according to a report in The Orlando Sentinel.
Soulé was a significant presence in the Miami civic community.
“Paul always made time for the important things in life,” said Brian Keeley, who served with him on the board of the Baptist Health Foundation, a position that Soulé held for 20 years, including a stint as chair.
“His love, of course was flying. He used to fly back for the board meetings all the way from his home” in Fruitland Park, Keeley said.
Soulé was a founder of the Miami Sundown Rotary Club and “served as president and probably every other office that was available,” said Carol Alexander, the group’s assistant governor.
His company, Paul Soulé Enterprises, provided retirement planning, wealth management and insurance services, as well as selling aircraft and training pilots.
Soule graduated from Miami Senior High School and attended the University of Miami before joining the U.S. Air Force for 16 years of active duty and reserve service.
Soulé earned a master’s degree in financial planning from American College and, according to his website, had more than 45 years of experience as a financial services agent, consultant and broker.
He was president of Chartered Life Underwriters, an insurance trade group, and the president of the South Dade Estate Planning Council.
“He always spoke with excitement about his flying,” said Barry Nelson, who served on the Estate Planning Council with Soulé. “He was always a gentleman.”