Dive team recovers body after planes collide

Reporter: Chuck Weber

The sheriff's office dive team recovered the remains of one of the pilots of that apparent mid-air collision in the Everglades Monday.

The two small planes went down Saturday, just north of the Palm Beach-Broward County line.

The sheriff's office recovered and brought to shore the remains of 56-year-old Harry Duckworth of Pennsylvania. Shortly after his body was found, members of his family came to the site to grieve. At times, family members stared at disbelief at the wreckage. Their loved one left Ocala bound for Pompano Beach.

Meanwhile, Kemper Aviation at Lantana Airport released the name of its student pilot who controlled the other plane that went down. He's 25-year-old Cleon Alvarez of India. He departed Lantana headed for Fort Lauderdale.

So how did the planes collide? The lead investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board says under the law, he cannot speculate at this point. But, he explained what's going on here at the staging site.

Paul Cox, NTSB, says, "We've recovered quite a few pieces of the aircraft, and the pieces are over there. We are going to set them up in such a way that we might be able to better determine how the aircraft came together. You lay them out, so you know how the parts were in the first place. Then, what we're going to be doing is looking at cut marks or scratch marks or breaking marks on each one of the aircraft."

The preliminary report will come out in 10 days. And late Monday evening, the sheriff's office says deputies found what may be some of the remains of the student pilot.

The recovery effort will continue through Tuesday.

Reporter: Alex Zequiera

The National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation Monday after two small planes collided in mid-air over the Everglades Saturday. The reason remains a mystery.

The search continues for two pilots still missing and presumed dead.

Fox 29 spoke to a fellow pilot who heard the distress call.

Minutes after the planes went down over the Everglades near the Palm Beach-Broward County line, a distress call could be heard over the radio. A call that was heard by Terry Jones, a seasoned helicopter pilot who didn't think twice about responding to that call.

"I saw what was left of a wing, a tail that said 152 and had a tail number on it."

Debris, Jones says, he saw scattered for at least a quarter of a mile through heavy muck and mud. "The cattails are 12 to 15 feet tall, a lot of willows. Waters are about a foot or two deep and about another foot or two of mud."

Jones hovered over the crash site for more than 45 minutes, hoping to spot any survivors. But even this experienced pilot admits, he didn't think that he would find any. "The wreckage was extensive, and, again, it looked like real small pieces. And it looked like things had fallen a pretty fair distance. So, I couldn't imagine anybody surviving that."

For the crews, sifting through the wreckage, an always changing climate and time are becoming a big problem. Not to mention, Sgt. Pete Palenzuela says, "They also have to have scene security there. They've got to watch out that maybe an alligator doesn't sneak up behind a rescuer or a salvage person or even poisonous snakes. There are large snakes out there, so they have to be very careful."

But the question still remains: How and why did this happen? Some can only speculate. "The biggest thing is not looking out the window. You get distracted by all the gauges and all the procedures that you're doing, so it's not difficult to imagine that to happen," says Jones.

Search crews will continue recovery efforts Monday with additional airboats.