Girl dies after being hit by plane on Florida beach
(Reuters) - The 9-year-old girl, who was struck by a plane that crash-landed on a Florida beach and killed her father, also has died from her injuries, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday.
Oceana Irizarry and her family were walking on Caspersen Beach in Venice on Sunday when the pilot of a single-engine Piper plane alerted the local municipal airport that he was going to make an emergency landing on the beach.
Oceana's father, Army Sergeant 1st Class Ommy Irizarry, 36, who was stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia, died on Sunday after being hit by the plane as it came down.
Oceana was airlifted in critical condition to a children's hospital in St. Petersburg, where she died.
"Our precious Oceana has joined her daddy in heaven," the family said in a statement released by the hospital. "There are no words to describe the suffering we are experiencing. Their loss is devastating to our family and to everyone who knew them."
Ommy Irizarry and his wife, Rebecca, were celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary on the day he died. Rebecca, two other Irizarry children, Ommy's mother and at least one family friend were on the beach but were not injured, the sheriff's office said.
After striking the father and daughter, the plane went for another 50 yards before crashing into the sand, according to the sheriff's office. The pilot and passenger were uninjured.
The pilot, identified by local media as Karl Kokomoor, said in a statement on Tuesday that he didn't realize anyone was on the beach until after he stepped out of the crashed plane. Kokomoor's family pastor read the statement to reporters at a news conference outside his home on Tuesday.
"I never saw them. I am deeply, deeply sorry," the statement said.
The sheriff's office turned the investigation over to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose said.