Girl, 9, Hurt In Beach Landing, Dies
Oceana Irizarry, 9, who was injured by a Piper Archer making an emergency landing on a Florida beach on Sunday, has died, officials said on Tuesday. Her father, Ommy Irizarry, 36, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, based at Fort Stewart, in Georgia, also was killed in the accident. The pilot of the Piper Archer had reported to air traffic control that he was unable to make it to the Venice airport and would land on the beach. The pilot, Karl Kokomoor, 57, and passenger David Theen, 60, both of nearby Englewood, were not hurt.
The father and daughter were collecting snails on the shore when "the plane caught them off guard from behind," a witness told El Nueva Dia, a newspaper based in Puerto Rico. Several other family members, including two of Ommy Irizarry's children, his wife, and his mother, also were on the beach at the time of the accident. In a statement released on Tuesday, Kokomoor said the Piper's engine had quit and would not restart. "With the plane quickly descending and little ability to make any major turn, I spotted an area on the shore on which I did not see anyone and landed the plane," he wrote. "It was only after I exited the plane did I realize there were people on the beach. I never saw them.... Words cannot express the sorrow I feel."