BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Two Jacksonville attorneys who walked away after their company plane crashed Monday in the Everglades are back in the office Tuesday talking about their pilot, who remains hospitalized.
The pilot, Jim Townsend, was trapped in the cockpit after the firm's twin-engine airplane in western Broward County He had to be cut out of the wreckage.
Robert Spohrer, founding partner of Spohrer and Dodd, and Steven Browning, another partner in the firm, were treated and released after the crash near U.S. Highway 27 in the Everglades. They both escaped without serious injury.
"We were descending rapidly. The gear was not down and we were going to be hitting off the field," Spohrer (pictured) said Tuesday. "I told Steve, 'Tighten your seat belt as tight as you can, get into a braced position.' As soon as the plane stops moving, we're going to get out of this emergency exit. He and I were our on the wing, immediately, essentially uninjured, miraculously. Our concern was Jim Townsend, our pilot, and trying to extricate him from the wreckage. He had broken legs, we couldn't get him out. He was trapped by instruments so we were unable to get him out of the plane until rescue arrived and cut the roof off the plane."
Townsend remains in the hospital in South Florida. The law firm flew Townsend's family to Fort Lauderdale and or doing whatever they can to help. Spore says it was some type of in-flight emergency and the way the pilot respond it save their lives.
"When you look at the images of the wreckage, it's pretty incredible that the three of us survived, and the two of us were essentially uninjured," Spohrer said.
Townsend, who lives in Yulee and regularly flies for the firm, was praised for his skill avoiding a bigger tragedy.
"Once that emergency occurred, he did an incredible job of keeping the airplane under control, picking a place to try and put it down, and then keeping the aircraft flying until the very last second," Spohrer said. "And that's why the three of us survived."
The Piper PA-31-350 left Jacksonville Monday morning headed for Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport when it went down in western Brevard County.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash