Pilot who died in Cessna crash off Elliott Key ID'd as Coral Gables man

 

A small plane crashed south of Elliott Key on Sunday afternoon, leaving one dead.

ecourt@MiamiHerald.com

Federal investigators will arrive Monday to look into the crash of a small plane that killed the pilot.

The plane crashed into the water off Elliott Key on Sunday afternoon, according to Miami-Dade police. The Cessna 172 went down at about 3:25 p.m. into about 10 feet of water 200 yards off the ocean side of Elliott Key, police said.

The pilot was identified Monday as Ricardo Laporta Barboza, 51, of Coral Gables, according to Lt. John Jenkins of Miami-Dade police.

The pilot was the only person on board, police believe. His body was retrieved from the water by divers, and brought back to Black Point Marina on a police boat.

Miami-Dade police continued their investigation Sunday night, and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash as well.

Tom and Ellen Romanowski were enjoying a calm ride out on the water in their brother-in-law’s boat when they saw the plane plunge from the sky.

It was “like a kamikaze pilot,” Tom Romanowski said, plummeting so fast that it was gone in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

“It just went straight down — didn’t try to pull up on the throttle. The wings didn’t flutter, nothing,” Romanowski said.

Miami-Dade police said they did not know what caused the crash. The federal investigators will arrive Monday, police said.

Though some at Black Point Marina speculated that the crash happened after the pilot tried to perform an aerial stunt, the Romanowskis said they did not see any such tricks.

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