Miami-Dade County

Pilot, passengers remain hospitalized following Opa-locka crash

Miami Dade County Fire Rescue and FAA investigators inspect the aircraft that crashed shortly after takeoff east of Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport on Dec. 1.
Miami Dade County Fire Rescue and FAA investigators inspect the aircraft that crashed shortly after takeoff east of Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport on Dec. 1. CMGuerrero@elNuevoHerald.com

Two passengers and the pilot of a single-engine plane that crashed soon after takeoff from Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport remained hospitalized on Wednesday as Opa-locka police released more details about the incident, including the identities of those aboard.

The pilot and registered owner of the 1968 Piper-PA32 plane, Jim Webster, and a passenger, Wanda Wild, had back injuries, according to surgeons at Ryder Trauma Center. A second passenger, Otto Wild, had bruises.

Webster, 72, and Otto Wild, 71, are expected to be released by the weekend, according to Herald news partner, WFOR Channel 4. Wanda Wild, 70, underwent surgery for her spinal injuries on Wednesday.

In a written statement provided to media, Otto Wild thanked the police, rescue workers, trauma surgeons and good Samaritans who “helped us get away from the plane that might have exploded.”

Wild also thanked the fireman who promised to take care of their pet, an 11-year-old German Shepherd-Golden Retriever mix named Sugar, who made the quickest recovery. Sugar was released from a Broward County animal hospital after receiving cuts and a broken bone, Channel 4 reported.

Officers found the plane upside down next to a canal bank about a half mile from the airport. But the pilot was responsive, telling them that “he was in a lot of pain and doesn’t remember,” the Opa-locka police report states.

The flight tracking website, flightaware.com, reports that Webster filed a plan to fly from Opa-locka to South Bimini, but the trip lasted only 11 minutes before the plane crashed.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

@dchangmiami

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