February 16, Belle Glade, Fla. / Aerostar 601P


At about 0800 eastern time, a Ted Smith Aerostar crashed near Belle Glade, leaving the pilot with serious injuries. The pilot said he was aware of reported thunderstorms along his route of flight and near the departure airport. He said he stayed low to avoid clouds, but saw a hole in the clouds and climbed through. When he reached 13,000 feet, he noticed that he was very close to a storm, so he turned the airplane 180 degrees, but flew directly into a storm cell. The turbulence of the storm caused the airplane to go into an uncontrolled dive. He was able to level the wings and pull the nose up just before impact with the ground.


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