Watch CBS News

Next-door neighbors of "likable" co-pilot who died in fiery Collier County plane crash remember him as man who "enjoyed his work"

CBS News Miami next-door neighbors of co-pilot who died in Collier County plane crash
CBS News Miami talks to next-door neighbors of co-pilot who died in Collier County plane crash 02:44

FORT LAUDERDALE — Both the pilots who died in the fiery plane crash on Interstate 75 in Collier County Friday were identified on Saturday as employees of Hop-a-Jet Worldwide Charter at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

CBS News Miami's Nikiya Carrero spoke with the neighbors of one of the pilots, who recalled the moment they found out about the crash.

"It's tragic," said neighbor Paula Kane. "It's really bad."

CBS News Miami's Nikiya Carrero spoke with the next-door neighbors of the co-pilot of the plane that crashed in Collier County on Friday. Paula Kane

The identities of those who died in the Naples tragedy were identified by the National Transportation Safety Board and Collier County Sheriff's Office were pilot Edward Daniel Murphy, 50, who lived in Oakland Park, and co-pilot Ian Frederick Hofmann, 65, who lived in Pompano Beach. Kane and Ralph Eisenberg live next door to Hofmann.

They described the moment when Hofmann's wife came and knocked on their door after learning about the crash.

"We were just finishing supper and there was a knock on the door -- and it was Cristina [who] came to the door," Kane told Carrero. "And she was on the phone. I think it was to the manager from the company. And, we couldn't understand what she was saying, unfortunately. So, Ralph took the phone from her and she just collapsed in my arms.

The pair had been in complete shock by the entire situation because they had dinner plans with their neighbors for Friday.

"We got a text saying he couldn't do it because he was working," Kane said. "I said 'Okay, we'll go out Valentine's Day instead.' But unfortunately, that's not going to happen now."

The couple described Hofmann as a likable man who would stop and talk to everyone who loved what he did.

"This was a part-time job for him," Eisenberg told Carrero. "And, he said they're easy planes to fly. Flying a lot of rich people around -- it was easy. He really enjoyed his work."

As for Hop-a-Jet? They have yet to comment on the crash.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.