Deadly plane crash in Martin Co., 3 passengers from FAU

Reporter: Allison Bybee

Update, Fri. 10 AM: Four people are dead after a plane crashes doing research for a local university. Among the dead are two students from the Florida Atlantic University.

The plane crashed in a cow pasture - the final resting place for two FAU students, a lab technician and the owner of Kemper Aviation. Now, it is just a matter of time until the FAA and NTSB piece together what happened.

Around 7 a.m. Thursday morning three people took off from Kemper Aviation in Lantana. Then, they stopped in Okechobee and picked up one more person. Minutes later, their plane seemingly just fell out of the sky.

"The plane was flying low and slow, and they did not hear an engine. If they ran out of fuel, it's speculation at this point, but the plane dropped," informs Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder.

After hitting the ground, the planed flipped over.

The first 9-1-1 call occured at 9:02 Thursday morning.

A small fire started in the engine but did not spread. Crews rushed to the scene, but it was too late. All four men died on impact.

FAU President Frank Brogan says, "Our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends. We will work as a university with all of them."

Of the men on board, three were from FAU. Two were graduate students; the other, a lab technician. They were studying the migratory habits of birds. This was a three year project; oddly enough, Thursday was their last flights.

The other man on board was the owner of Kemper Aviation where this flight originated from.

Sadly, this is not the first flight that crashed from this flight school, but it is the deadliest crash. Again, no one knows what made the Cessna Skyhawk crash. Investigators will go by eye-witness accounts and work to piece the accident back together.

The FAA and NTSB arrived at the scene just after 6 p.m. Thursday. They will continue to investigate to find out what truly happened and what caused this flight to go down.

Update, Thurs. 10:50 AM: A small plane crash in Martin County near S.W. Martin Hwy has killed four people. The plane was owned by an aviation company in Boynton Beach.

Martin Co. Fire Rescue says the plane, a Cessna Skyhawk, was found in a "rollover position".

We'll keep you updated as we learn.

Update, Thurs. 9:50 AM: We've now learned the plane that crashed in Martin County Thursday morning is a small plane,but we do not know how many passengers were on board nor the extent of their injuries.

Previously: We've just received reports of a plane crash in Martin County near S.W. Martin Highway.

Emergency crews are on the scene. It's unknown what kind of plane this is right now.

We have a crew on the way and will keep you updated as we learn more.