Embry-Riddle student killed, flight instructor injured in plane crash that narrowly missed home

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A 22-year-old Titusville man was killed and a 23-year-old Pennsylvania man was critically injured Tuesday evening when a small single-engine private plane crashed in an empty lot near Port Orange, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

The crash was reported at about 7:30 p.m. at Taxiway Echo in the Spruce Creek Fly-In, which is a gated aviation community, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Laura Williams said.

"The plane, carrying two men, narrowly missed hitting a home," Williams said. "No injuries were reported on the ground."

Deputies said the passenger, Nandish Patel, died at the scene and the pilot, Chase Zinn, was taken to Daytona Beach's Halifax Health Medical Center, where he remains in serious condition.

An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University spokesman said Patel was a student at the university and Zinn is a flight instructor for the school.

Zinn’s family owns the plane, deputies said.

Witnesses said they heard the Cessna 140 sputtering before it crashed. A nearby resident pulled Zinn from the wreckage.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

NTSB officials said the plane had an altitude of no more than 200 feet before the pilot turned left and crashed.

Investigators said they're reviewing Tuesday evening's conditions to determine if weather was a factor in the crash.

The university provided Channel 9 with the following statement Wednesday:

"With deep sorrow, we can inform you of the tragic loss of an Embry-Riddle Eagle and injuries to another. Our student Nandish Patel died last night in a private aircraft accident at the Spruce Creek fly-in community in Port Orange, Florida. The accident also seriously injured one of our flight instructors, Embry-Riddle alumnus Chase Zinn, who is currently receiving care at Halifax Health Medical Center.

"Nandish, 22, was a senior aeronautical science major and a member of the Airline Pilots Association Aviation Collegiate Education (ALPA ACE) club, the Business Aviation Student Association and the Cricket Club. A permanent resident of the United States, he was originally from India and had transferred to Embry-Riddle from Eastern Florida State College.

"Chase, 23, graduated from Embry-Riddle in May 2017. An Instructor Pilot 2, he is a member of Alpha Omicron Alpha and the BlueWings network of aviation professionals. He also has participated in the Business Aviation Student Association as well as two different sports car groups affiliated with Embry-Riddle."The families of Nandish and Chase are close in our thoughts and hearts."

UPDATE: VCSO IDENTIFIES OCCUPANTS IN CRASHED PLANE Earlier today, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office identified the...

Posted by Volusia Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, May 22, 2018