Cellphone video shot by the boaters who were first on the scene at retired Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay’s plane crash showed him doing a low-level steep turn and flying just above the Gulf of Mexico off Florida before he crashed. The video, obtained by TMZ, accompanied a story in which other witnesses said they had seen him flying that way, also. “He was flying like that all week. Aggressively,” TMZ quoted an unidentified witness as saying. Halladay, 40, was killed moments after the video was shot on Tuesday when his Icon A5 crashed northwest of Tampa. TMZ said the boaters rushed to the crash scene but it was clear the pilot didn’t survive. The NTSB is investigating.
This is the second fatal Icon crash of 2017. In March of this year, renowned Icon test pilot John Karkow and a new Icon employee, Cagri Sever, were killed after evidently making a wrong turn into a box canyon while flying low over Lake Berryessa, accordingto the NTSB report. No information has yet been made available about the nature or possible cause of Halladay’s accident.
Halladay tweeted regularly about his affection for the plane. “I keep telling my dad flying the Icon A5 low over the water is like flying a fighter jet,” said one tweet by the baseball star. Although Halladay had been a regular renter of A5s from the training fleet, his aircraft was only delivered in early October. At the time, Icon said, “Roy’s A5 is a significant airplane: not only is it the first Founders Edition A5 and the first Model Year 2018 A5, it’s also the first aircraft whose airframe was made in-house at ICON’s new composites manufacturing facility.” The Icon press release continued: “Its delivery is an important milestone as we ramp up production and deliveries. Halladay lives in Florida and has been using his A5 to explore the waterways near his house with this wife, Brandy, who has previously been an uncomfortable passenger in light aircraft but was won over by the A5.”
Icon released a statement on the crash late Tuesday afternoon: “We were devastated to learn that former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay died today in an accident involving an Icon A5 in the Gulf of Mexico. We have gotten to know Roy and his family in recent months, and he was a great advocate and friend of ours. The entire Icon community would like to pass on our deepest condolences to Roy’s family and friends. Icon will do everything it can to support the accident investigation going forward and we will comment further when more information is available.” Video is below and there is rough language in it.