Plane Crash-Lands on Florida Beach, Killing Man and Critically Injuring His Daughter

Ommy Irizarry and his 9-year-old daughter, Oceana, were strolling along the sand just outside the surf in Venice, Florida, yesterday afternoon when a small aircraft plummeted from the sky. The Piper, which had lost power midflight, slammed to a stop on the sand without seriously injuring the pilot or his passenger, but it careened into the father and daughter before they could react.

Ommy Irizarry was killed, and Oceana remains in critical condition this morning.

"My office just called to check 15 minutes ago, and the girl remains in critical condition," Sarasota spokeswoman Wendy Rose told Riptide around 8 a.m. Monday.

The tragedy reportedly began around 2:45 p.m. yesterday when a Piper piloted by 57-year-old Karl Kokomoor of Englewood, Florida, and carrying passenger David Theen, a 60-year-old from the same town, radioed Sarasota's airport to report trouble.

The pilot told air traffic controllers that he wouldn't make it back to the runway and that he'd try to set down on nearby Caspersen Beach, CBS reports.

The plane landed just outside the surf, but the pilot slammed into the father and daughter, who were out for an afternoon stroll. A woman who witnessed the crash reportedly had a heart attack at the sight.

Ommy and Oceana Irizarry lived in Georgia, Rose says, though a Facebook page for Ommy says he's originally from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Hours before the accident, he posted a Facebook message to his wife celebrating their ninth anniversary together.

That message has been flooded with shocked condolences this morning from friends and family.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident, Rose tells Riptide.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink