At 17:03 eastern time, a Cessna 172R was crashed into the side of the Bank of America Building, killing the student pilot. The student was instructed to preflight the airplane and wait for the instructor, but instead the student took off without clearance from the tower. The airplane flew over the control tower and three hangars at McDill Air Force Base before proceeding downtown. An unarmed Coast Guard helicopter intercepted the airplane and attempted to get the pilot to land. The helicopter pilots said they believed the student pilot saw their hand gestures and gestured back, however they could not determine what kind of gestures the student pilot was making. Shortly thereafter, the airplane collided with the building, imbedding itself into the 28th floor.