UPDATE: The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report (ERA22FA226) regarding the investigation into the Cessna 172 Skyhawk (N8845Z) accident on bridge in Miami, FL.
On May 14, 2022, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk made an emergency landing on the Haulover Inlet Bridge in Miami Beach, Florida. On the ground, the airplane struck a minivan occupied by a woman and two small children who were not seriously injured. The collision caused the airplane to flip and catch fire. The pilot’s two adult relatives were able to escape the burning airplane with serious injuries. Sadly, 36 year old pilot and Miami International Airport tower controller Narciso Torres died in the accident.
The flight departed North Perry Airport in Hollywood, Florida, around 12:38 p.m., crossed the shoreline, and then flew south along the coast destined for Key West. It appears the pilot reported an engine problem to Miami’s Terminal Radar Approach Control facility shortly after flying along the coast. He then turned inland to the north in search of an emergency landing spot.
In Early Analysis: N8845Z, the AOPA Air Safety Institute makes a preliminary assessment of the accident, addressing notable portions of the tragic flight and highlighting areas the NTSB will likely investigate to determine a probable cause.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) mourned the death of Torres who had worked at various FAA facilities since 2008, and was the union representative at the Miami tower, according to a tribute posted on LinkedIn by the union.
“This is a terrible tragedy that has sent shock waves throughout our NATCA family,” NATCA President Rich Santa wrote in that post. “Our hearts go out to Narciso’s wife, Jennifer, his entire family, and the many fellow Union brothers and sisters that loved him so much and are now dealing with an unspeakable loss. Narciso touched so many people with his warmth and kindness, both within NATCA, in the facilities he worked, and in every interaction he had. He gave so much of his time to representing his members at MIA, and before that at MCO, and worked extremely hard on behalf of this Union to improve the working conditions of all controllers and improve the safety of the National Airspace System.”
“Like so many thousands of our members, Narciso had such a deep love of all things aviation, and of flying, as evidenced by this flight on a beautiful South Florida day where he was doing what he loved," Santa wrote on LinkedIn. "This loss hurts so deeply. Narciso will never be forgotten.”