Plane Crash on Florida Beach Kills Father and Critically Injures Daughter
A Georgia man died and his daughter was critically injured when a plane crashed on Caspersen Beach, just south of the airport, at the southern tip of the island of Venice.
Ommy Irizarry and his 9-year-old daughter Oceana were walking along the beach when they were hit by the plane or its debris, officials said. It’s unclear how the plane or the debris hit father and daughter.
Irizarry died at the scene. His daughter was airlifted to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. She has died since the crash, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
The family issued the following statement on Tuesday morning:
Our precious Oceana has joined her daddy in heaven. She was nine years old. Oceana was a beautiful, intelligent and kind-hearted little girl. She was a natural artist who loved to learn. She was looking forward to the 4th grade.
Ommy, a Sergeant First Class in the Army, was a beloved husband, father, son, brother, friend and soldier. He lit up the room whenever he entered and was devoted to his family.
There are no words to describe the suffering we are experiencing. Their loss is devastating to our family and to everyone who knew them. Thank you to our many loved ones, friends and strangers for your outpouring of love and prayers.
Although they are gone, Ommy and Oceana live on through organ donation. Forever, they will be in our hearts. To all of those who helped us on the beach and medical personnel, thank you for your efforts to save them. We will always be grateful to All Children's Hospital for your skilled and loving care of Oceana and our family.
In sorrow, the Irizarry and Power families
Facebook posts from the week show Ommy and his wife, Rebecca, three children and an older woman. In one, they're smiling in the water. In another, they're lounging under a tent at Siesta Key.
On Friday, Ommy took a picture of a child's writing in the sand: "I <3 Mom + Dad."
Just hours before he died, Ommy's posted a celebration message of his ninth wedding anniversary.
"Thank you for being with me through thick and thin . . . ," he wrote. "I am very happy and can't wait to see what the next 100 have in store for us."
Sarasota County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Wendy Rose said Venice Municipal Airport officials reported a plane in distress Sunday afternoon.
The pilot of a 1972 Piper Cherokee radioed that he would be unable to make it back to the airport and that he was instead going to attempt a landing on Caspersen Beach, located just to the south.
"The pilot radioed that he was not going to be able to make it back to the airport, and he was going to try to land on the hard-packed sand of the beach," she said. "He landed about the water's edge and the pilot and his male passenger were both unharmed."
The plane landed and hit Ommy Irizarry, 36, and his daughter, Oceana, 9, about 2:45 p.m., according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.
"I do know the timing of his radio to the Venice Airport and immediate response was minutes so there was not, from what I understand, there was not a lot of time between his radio dispatch and the crash," she said.
Officials say the pilot was Karl Kokomoor, 57, and the passenger was David Theen, 60, both of nearby Englewood. They were not injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating.
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Florida plane crash: Dad and daughter hit by plane walking on beach
Florida plane crash Florida Father Killed, Daughter Critically Injured in Beach Plane Crash A man was killed and his daughter critically injured Sunday when they were hit by a plane making an emergency landing on a Florida beach, officials said.