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Passengers In Western Broward Plane Crash Released From Hospital

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two passengers aboard a small plane that went down in western Broward County on Monday have been released from the hospital.

"I'm doing fine," said Steven Browning, one of the passengers, as he left Broward Health Medical Center Monday evening.  "I'm completely uninjured, so I'm doing great."

"I'm fine.  We're very fortunate.  We're just concerned about our pilot right now," said Robert Spohrer, the other passenger aboard the plane.

Spohrer, Browning and the pilot were the only ones on board at the time of the crash listed as 12:45 p.m.

The Piper Navajo with tail number "N55GK" reportedly went missing off of Interstate 75 and Interstate 595 before being found in a swampy area near US-27, just North of Griffin Road.  Federal Aviation Officials said it crashed just 16 miles west of Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport, at the edge of the Everglades.

plane down pilot
The pilot being removed from the plane and placed onto a gurney (CBS4)

Chopper4 had been asked by tower operators in Fort Lauderdale to check for reports of a possible plane down. The chopper crew spotted the wreckage prompting rescue efforts. Chopper4 captured as fire rescue arrived.

Click here to view images of the wreck and rescue. 

The plane seemed to be broken in half. The pilot was stuck in the wreck while a passenger with a bloodied face was seen walking around.

At least six firefighters were seen using the Jaws of Life to remove the pilot from the wreck. Once he was freed, air rescue was on the scene, ready to airlift the pilot to an area hospital.

"His lower extremities, his legs were entangled underneath that cockpit," said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Spokesman Mike Jachles. "They (fire rescue) had worked using hydraulic rescue tools. They had worked to remove that cockpit from around his legs without aggravating his injuries."

Those who know the pilot credit him with saving everyone on board.

CBS4 spoke by phone with one of the partners at the law firm where the plane is registered.

"I do know him. I've personally flown with him for over 25 years. He's a very meticulous pilot and safe pilot. I'm sure he can be credited with saving the lives of my two partners as well as his own," said Barry Newman. "I'm anxious to hear him in person as soon as I can to find out what happened. We really don't know anything at this point."

The pilot, who has yet to be identified, remains in the hospital in stable condition.

Spohrer and Browning are Jacksonville attorneys and were flying to South Florida on business.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate why the plane crashed.


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