NTSB investigators search for cause of fatal banner plane crash

National Transportation Safety Board investigators were working Saturday to find out what caused a small plane towing an advertising banner to crash into a Fort Lauderdale condominium Friday.

The crash killed the pilot, who has yet to be identified.

Investigator Tim Monville said the NTSB has talked with the FAA and the owner of the banner-towing company, Aerial Banners Inc., along with several witnesses.

The wreckage of the plane, a Piper PA-25, was removed from the pool deck of the Berkley South condominium, an 18-story condo building at 3015 N. Ocean Blvd.

Jeffery Walker, a construction worker from Hollywood, said he witnessed the low-flying plane’s banner become snagged on the five-story building he was working on, across A1A from the crash site.

“It was flying real low and the banner got hooked,” Walker said. “It wouldn’t let [the pilot] fly up, and it just crashed right there.”

The plane was able to break free but flew into the high rise, punching a hole in the face of the building, three floors below the roof, Walker said.

The National Transportation Safety Board was called to the scene and it will take over the investigation, Gollan said.

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