Pilot killed in small plane crash identified

JSO believes pilot was taking off from Jacksonville Executive

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police identified the pilot who was killed Saturday morning when a small plane crashed in a parking lot across Atlantic Boulevard from Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airfield.

Images: Plane crashes Saturday morning

Police identified the pilot as William Eubanks, 32. 

Witnesses on the scene said the pilot died on impact.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer said the single-engine aircraft was used as a banner-towing plane owned by Flying Weaners Inc. of Jacksonville.

"As the plane hit a cross wind, the pilot was able to steer away from the gas station," witness Patric Ramage told Channel 4. "When he did, another cross wind lifted the plane and it rolled over. (It) stalled and nose dived into the parking lot."

"He lost his Geico flag and by the time he lost the flag, the sign fell off and then the plane went out of control," said witness Eddie Mctizic.

While the Piper PA-25 Pawnee's tail hit a pickup truck as it came down about 11:15 a.m., no one on the ground was injured. The owner of the pickup truck said he was inside a nearby fireworks tent at the time.

Witnesses said Eubanks tried steering the plane away from a gas station and the fireworks tent. They also said several people tried pulling him out of the plane but it was too late.

The aircraft came to rest headed away from the runway. JSO believes the pilot was taking off from Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airfield.

The eastbound lanes of Atlantic Boulevard were closed immediately after the crash, but all lanes were opened again by 1:30 p.m.

Channel 4 has learned planes associated with Flying Weaners Inc. have crashed before. In 2003, a pilot made a crash landing and no one was hurt. In 1999, a single-engine plane crashed at Craig Airfield, killing two people.

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