Fort Lauderdale police Thursday released the names of the four people killed in a fiery plane crash near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on Sunday.
The victims, a family of four including two teenagers, were residents of Paramaribo, Suriname, in South America. Killed in the crash were: John Patrick Van Ommeren, 51, Monique Van Ommeren, 49, Sacha Van Ommeren, 15, and Sharissa Van Ommeren, 13.
Fort Lauderdale homicide detectives, who worked with the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Broward Sheriff’s Office Lab, used dental records and DNA testing to confirm the identification of the family’s charred bodies.
The Piper PA 31 went down at about 4:30 p.m. in a wooded area near the 2400 block of Northwest 62nd Street after declaring an emergency, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. No one on the ground was hurt.
While federal investigators are still working to determine why the twin-turbine propeller crashed into a nature preserve north of the runway, friends and family back home are trying to piece together the tragedy.
On an April 6 Facebook post— showing John and his two daughters minutes away from take-off — one friend called John “the coolest dad ever.”
Sacha, the couple’s oldest daughter, would have turned 16 on Monday.
“I still can’t believe it,” the friend said in the Facebook post. “Still in shock, but at least I can find peace knowing that they crossed over together as a family.”
Fort Lauderdale Police department detectives and crime scene investigators are working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to finalize the investigation.