At about 1530 eastern time, a Cessna 310 crashed shortly after takeoff from Merritt Island Airport. The pilot was killed. Witnesses at the airport said the pilot started the No. 2 engine first and that it was missing, sputtering, and back firing. The pilot then started the No. 1 engine, and performed engine runups with either one or both engines making the same loud missing, sputtering and backfiring noises. Despite the noises, the pilot proceeded to take off on runway 11, with one or both engines making unusual noises. One witness said he noticed the right propeller stop turning and saw the airplane banking toward the dead engine. The airplane crashed into a swamp about a half mile southeast of the airport.