By SHANIKA ISAACS
A small banner plane crashed into a Fort Lauderdale condominium last Friday, killing the pilot and destroying a resident’s kitchen. No other people were hurt.
Derek Morgan, 28, was a resident of Washington state before moving six weeks ago to South Florida to accomplish more hours for his commercial pilot license. Many of his co-workers, friends and close-friends remembered him as someone jovial and warm to be around.
“It’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy for the family. It’s a tragedy for all of us. He traveled across the country just to get here to do some flight hours,” said Patrick Phipps, one of Morgan’s friend.
According to witnesses they told the Sun Sentinel that the plane’s banner was caught on a nearby building which sent it hurtling into The Berkley South. It landed between the 16th and 17th floors before toppling onto the pool deck that was still undergoing construction.
The Piper PA-25 was registered to Ariel Banners Inc., which was based at North Perry Airport. After the crash all residents were evacuated from the building in fear for a gas leak. Once a fire threat was clear and further investigations were done they were not allotted back inside until it was safe to do so.