FAA, NTSB investigating deadly plane crash at Stuart Air Show

FAA, NTSB investigating deadly plane crash at Stuart Air Show
The Martin County Sheriff's Office says a plane has crashed at the Stuart Air Show on Friday afternoon. (Source: Martin Co. Sheriff's Office)

STUART, Fla. — The Martin County Sheriff's Office says one person died when a plane crashed at the Stuart Air Show on Friday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said they're investigating the crash of a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk.

The FAA said the Mohawk, with only the pilot aboard, crashed on the approach end of Runway 1 at Witham Field, located at 2011 SE Airport Rd., around 1:15 p.m.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the victim is an adult male. It’s unclear what caused the plane to go down.


"Fire Rescue personnel were already on the scene and had extinguished the flames which, by all appearances, had fully engulfed the airplane," said Sheriff Snyder at a news conference on Friday afternoon.

Officials said Witham Field is currently closed until further notice, meaning no aviation activity, until local and federal investigators complete their investigation.

The Stuart Air Show, which was was supposed to start at 5 p.m. Friday, has been canceled for Friday night.

"There will be no aeronautical activity for the Friday night Air Show tonight," said George Stokus, the assistant Martin County administrator. "It does appear, based on weather and the incidents that were involved right now, that the fireworks as well as the Dirty Flight Suit Party will not be occurring today."

A photo posted to social media by MCSO shows the aircraft on the grass at Witham Field with its wings smashed and metal debris scattered around it.

A separate photo from the area shows a cloud of thick, black smoke rising into the sky.

“I saw a gray bomber fly down, and literally within seconds, it just kind of caught my breath because he flew so far down that I thought, there is no way they could have pulled up,” said Natalie Evans, a witness. “It just kind of shocked me, stunned me. I didn’t hear a crash and I waited just a little bit and I saw smoke. That part was very upsetting.”

According to the Stuart Air Show's website, a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk is scheduled to perform at the event.

A Grumman OV-1 Mohawk is a "twin-engine turboprop armed military observation and attack aircraft, designed for battlefield surveillance and light strike capabilities and was intended to operate from short, unimproved runways in support of United States Army maneuver forces," according to the Stuart Air Show's website.

Sheriff Snyder said this type of aircraft was in production from 1959 to 1970.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first plane crash the Air Show has ever had," said Sheriff Snyder.

The Stuart Air Show tweeted on Friday they’ve “had an incident involving one of our aircraft. All local and federal agencies are on site and investigating so that we may ensure the safety of our airshow before we continue.”

The NTSB said it's sending an investigator from Miami to Stuart.

FOX 29 is working this story and will provide updates as they become available.

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