A female pilot and a passenger were seriously hurt when their two-seater, single-engine plane crashed on a sidewalk near a Miramar strip mall late Monday, police said.
Inside the Cessna Skyhawk was a backpack that contained identification for one of the occupants, Gopika Sreekumar, 23. It is not yet known if she was piloting the plane or was the passenger. The other woman was identified by a passport from the Republic of India as Ravi Urmila, 36, according to Miramar Police.
The injured women had to be extricated from the plane’s mangled wreckage then rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital by Miramar Fire Rescue, police said. The women had to be “trauma-alerted” to the hospital with serious injuries, but there was no word on their status late Tuesday, according to police spokeswoman Tania Rues.
The crash happened about 10:40 p.m. Monday, next to the River Run shopping plaza at 9933 Miramar Parkway, near Palm Avenue. The plaza is anchored by a Publix. No one on the ground was injured, Rues said.
Palm fronds were scattered for about a half-mile around the area where the plane went down. Authorities confirmed the aircraft clipped the treetops on its descent.
The plane was most likely trying to get to the North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines when it crashed.
According to FlightAware.com, the plane made numerous trips, some more than an hour in durations and others for just a few minutes beginning at 8:09 a.m. Monday, when it was tracked going from North Perry to the Immokalee Regional Airport.
Once back at North Perry, there were five very brief flights recorded around the airport, and one flight that was about an hour long in the area.
The plane left, for Naples at 7:33 p.m. Nearly two hours later, the plane took off heading east to South Florida. The plane was last tracked in Hollywood at 10:37 p.m. The North Perry Airport is just five miles from the central business district of Hollywood.
FlightAware is a tracking system and does not have records of the people piloting or on board a plane, so it is unclear how many of the trip the women who were injured made Monday before crashing.
While the wings of the plane stayed intact, the left wing appeared to have post-crash damage. The plane’s nose and belly were heavily damaged.
The plane is registered to UAN Venture Partners, LLC, in Pasco’s County’s Odessa, Fla., records show.
Shards of aluminum, shattered plexiglass and a pair of broken aviator headphones lay in the parking lot in front of River Run Animal Hospital early Tuesday.
The Skyhawk is known for being “the ultimate training aircraft” for student pilots due to its operating simplicity, slow landing speed, and other features, according to the company’s website.
Sergio Mora, who lives in the nearby Encore housing community, said he was returning from dinner in Hialeah with his family Monday night when they noticed police cars blocking the road, about a quarter-mile from the entrance to their complex.
Mora said he stayed put in his car until about 2 a.m. when police escorted him and a few other residents to their homes.
“We were going to be there all night,” he said.
Roads were closed for hours overnight, specifically Palm Avenue, from Miramar Parkway north to Miramar Boulevard. By 6 a.m. Tuesday, roads were reopened.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
Sun Sentinel staff photographer Joe Cavaretta contributed to this report.