Broward County

NTSB: Pilot involved in fatal crash completed training one week before doomed flight

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue crews douse the flames on a Piper-PA aircraft that crashed near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport April 12.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue crews douse the flames on a Piper-PA aircraft that crashed near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport April 12. Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue

When John Patrick Van Ommeren neared Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport April 12 in his Piper-PA plane, he called air traffic control to land and didn't report any problems.

But shortly after, Van Ommeren, who had just completed training on how to fly the seven-passenger aircraft a week prior to the doomed flight, called out “mayday,” and was allowed to land on whichever runway was closest, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane, which took off from Orlando Executive Airport, never made it to Runway 13. It crashed in a nature preserve, killing Van Ommeren and his three passengers, his wife and two children: Monique Van Ommeren, 49, Sacha Van Ommeren,15, and Sharissa Van Ommeren, 13.

The family lived in Paramaribo, Suriname.

The fiery crash happened at about 4:30 p.m. April 12 in a wooded area near the 2400 block of Northwest 62nd Street, near Runway 13.

A day after the crash, the charred remains were taken to Fort Pierce for an investigation into what caused the crash. According to the preliminary report, all of the major components of the plane, including the engines and propellers, are being examined.

The report also revealed the pilot logged 1,221 hours of flight time and completed the training course on the PA-31 one week prior to the accident. The plane had received its yearly inspection on April 3.

It could take months before a final report determining the cause of the crash is complete.

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