Authorities: 3 injured after plane crashes into marsh while departing St. Augustine airport

A single engine plane owned by a flight school crashed and flipped into the marsh 30 feet from the runway after failing to gain enough height to take off.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Three people were injured Monday morning when a single-engine plane crashed into a marsh about 30 feet away from a runway at Northeast Florida Regional Airport, authorities said.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Beechcraft C24R crashed into the marsh and flipped over while the pilot was trying to take off from the airport located just north of St. Augustine on U.S. Highway 1 about 10:10 a.m.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the airplane “failed to gain enough altitude for takeoff.”

James Langford told News4Jax he was outside his house when he heard a plane trying to rev and then a plop.

“I listen to the planes land and take off all the time. I knew this one didn’t make it,” he said. “I ran downstairs, came out here, and sure enough a plane in the marsh.”

Langford said he saw a man standing in the marsh grass next to the plane.

“I noticed that he was talking to somebody in the plane, so I knew there was somebody in the plane besides him,” Langford said. “They didn’t seem to be getting out. I knew it was more serious.”

SJCFR responded to an aircraft accident at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport. The aircraft is located at the end of...

Posted by St. Johns County Fire Rescue on Monday, September 13, 2021

The FAA said three people were on board. According to FHP, the pilot, a 67-year-old Ponte Vedra Beach man, was seriously injured, while the passengers — a 22-year-old West Palm Beach woman and a 23-year-old man from Holliston, Massachusetts — suffered minor injuries.

St. Johns County Fire Rescue was among the agencies that responded to the scene. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating. The FAA said the NTSB will be in charge of the investigation.

The flight school that owns the plane declined to comment, saying it’s waiting on the results of the investigation.

Plane down off Runway 31 at St. Augustine airport. (WJXT Sky4)

According to News4Jax records, this was the third incident involving a plane at that airport this summer. A Cessna 152 crashed and burned on a runway on June 29. The FAA said a flight instructor and passenger aboard both died.

On July 17, a small plane was damaged when its landing gear collapsed. No one was hurt in that incident.

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