Updated Jan. 24, 2018
The identity of the pilot of the small craft has been released. Daniel Bernath, 68, died as a result of the crash.
The NTSB is still investigating the cause of the crash. A preliminary report is expected within the next two weeks.
Earlier Report, Jan. 22, 2018
One person is dead after a small plane taking off from Page Field crashed in a wooded area east of Bonita Springs on Monday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
During a mid-afternoon press conference, Undersheriff Carmine Marceno said that a mayday distress call was received about 15 minutes after takeoff. LCSO officials and the Bonita Springs Fire Department found the downed craft near Bonita National Golf Club in a wooded area.
Marceno said it wasn’t yet known if there were any other passengers, or if the body discovered was in fact the pilot.
“The search is in a deep wooded area, so you’re going to have to give us time to get in there and work with the fire department to determine that there are no other victims,” Marceno said. “We’re using equipment to get back there but its very heavily wooded, so that makes our investigation a little more difficult.”
The NTSB has been notified of the crash, but a search operation led by Bonita Springs Fire is ongoing, chief Joseph Daigle said.
“At the current moment we have crews doing a wide search of the area to see if there was anybody ejected from the actual crash site aside from the initial deceased,” Daigle said.
No other details, including the type of craft was immediately known beyond that it was a single engine craft that could carry two passengers.
Daigle said that emergency crews are working with the state’s Division of Forestry to carve a clearing into the woods to allow crews easier access to the site.
This is a developing story. Check back for more details.
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