Pilot Marc Allen Benedict and passenger Gregory Guinee had taken off in their single-engine Rockwell International aircraft from Clearwater Airpark and landed at Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, 80 kilometres away. After refueling at Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, the plane was flying back to its point of origin when it had "engine trouble" and crashed on the highway, barely 2 kilometres away from Clearwater Airpark.
Realising making it back to the original airport would be difficult, the pilot attempted to land in an open area. But while landing, the left wing of the plane clipped a tree causing the plane to spin and crash-land. The terrifying moment was caught on the deputies' dash camera.
Police said the pilot and the passenger escaped unhurt in the landing and "refused medical treatment".
The Pinellas County Sheriff Office uploaded the dramatic moment on their Facebook page:
Photos of the aftermath showed firefighters at the site of the crash with the plane's left wing mangled.
The area was cordoned off for some hours after the crash, reported WTSP.
"It sounded like all of our plates in our kitchen just fell over," a neighbour who lives near the crash site told WTSP.
Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are trying ascertain why the plane encountered problems mid-flight.
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