Two walk away from fiery plane crash

Published May 18, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG -- Fire quickly consumed a small plane that crashed into the seawall Thursday at Albert Whitted Municipal Airport, fire rescue officials said.

But both the pilot and his passenger walked away from the crash.

The pilot, Carroll B. Turner Jr., 61, and his passenger, Rodney O. Moore, 58, told investigators that they were approaching runway 36 about 5:55 p.m. when crosswinds and tailwinds upended the aircraft about 30 feet from the runway. The plane landed on the rocky seawall before bursting into flames.

Emergency Services crews took both men to Bayfront Medical Center. They were in stable condition late Thursday night, hospital officials said.

The aircraft, a two-seater by Maule Air Inc., was registered to Carroll of St. Petersburg, said Kathleen Bergen, the Federal Aviation Administration's Southern Region spokeswoman. The men told investigators they were returning home from Homestead.

At the crash site, all that was left of the plane was its charred skeleton and a large swath of a red and white wing.

"Obviously, they're lucky to get out alive," said Lt. Rick Feinberg, a spokesman for St. Petersburg Fire Department. "The plane was completely consumed by fire."

Feinberg said the plane had 80 gallons of fuel on board, which burned off during the crash. Investigators do not expect the crash to pose any danger to the environment.

The FAA and the National Transportation and Safety Board plan to investigate the crash.