One dead in New Smyrna Beach plane crash

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - One person is dead following the crash of a twin-engine airplane in New Smyrna Beach Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, the Cessna 337 crashed just after takeoff from the New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport.

"It clipped the top of this tree and clipped the power line there and hit that rotten big tall pine tree over there and just disintegrated like it was made out of balsa wood when it hit the ground," said Pat Chapman, who witnessed the crash.

The plane broke apart on impact, killing the pilot, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Deputies identified the pilot as Paul Rooy, age 56, of Daytona Beach.

The crash happened in an empty field near a New Smyrna city sports complex.

According to officials, they believe Rooy radioed that he had an emergency.

Eyewitnesses said they could tell from the ground that something was wrong, and it appeared to them that the plane was trying to return to the airport.

"It was like he took off and must have gotten into some kind of trouble and tried to make a circle maybe going back to the airport and didn't make it," said Chapman.

No one else was aboard the plane and no injuries were reported on the ground, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be involved in investigations surrounding the crash.