All indications suggest the single-engine plane that crashed in Sarasota Saturday afternoon wasn't in the air very long.
It took off from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport shortly before 3:30 p.m. and crashed landed on the campus of New College of Florida moments later.
The crash site is approximately ½-mile from SRQ.
"The plane was confirmed to be a C-wind, which is an experimental plane, a hand-made plane," explained Captain Susan Pearson with Sarasota County Fire Rescue. "There were two people on board."
The pilot, who has yet to be identified, died at the scene.
His passenger, confirmed as being a 63-year-old Michigan resident, somehow survived the fiery wreck. He was airlifted by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital with second and third-degree burns.
Sarasota resident Richard Parker saw everything.
"What happened is the plane came in like this and it clipped the pine tree and then the other pine tree," Parker said. "At that point the entire plane just exploded in flames"
But Parker, who lives close to the crash site, was more than just an eyewitness. He saw a plane on fire, crashing to the ground and decided to run towards it.
"I was there by the time the thing hit the ground," Parker added.
He says the passenger was engulfed in flames when he got there. Parker got him away from the wreckage and rolled the man on the ground to make sure the flames went out.
He then turned his attention to the pilot who appeared to be pinned under the plane.
"He was reaching and calling for help from me, I was only about five feet away but the flames were just so intense," Parker said. "I couldn't get any closer. I just apologized that I couldn't do anymore and I said a prayer and that's all I could do."
Authorities have not said where the flight was headed or who the plane belonged to. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board came to the scene to pick up the investigation.
Pearson is pleased Saturday's incident wasn't a bigger tragedy.
"This is a college campus and the fact that he didn't hit any buildings, there were college kids out here enjoying a beautiful afternoon," she said. "The fact that nobody else was injured is quite incredible."
Sarasota fire officials say the pilot is not from this area.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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