The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of a plane that crashed in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge near Boynton Beach, Florida, last week, killing the son of a city manager and his cousin.
According to Leesburg, Florida’s The Daily Commercial, Ryan Christopher Ruano, 34, the son of Bushnell, Florida’s City Manager Vince Ruano, was at the helm of a single-engine, four-seat Cirrus SR22 airplane when it crashed on Sunday, Nov. 13. Mr. Ruano’s cousin, 23-year-old Sean McLeod, was a passenger on the plane.
Mr. Ruano became a pilot when he was 18 and had several years experience flying families, celebrities, business people, and dignitaries all over the U.S. and Caribbean. According to The Daily Commercial, three days before the crash, Mr. Ruano rented the Cirrus airplane from Air Orlando Aviation Flight School at Orlando Executive Airport, where he had started working recently. Mr. McLeod was studying for his pilot’s license at the same flight school. The men were returning from an air show after Mr. Ruano attended advanced helicopter flight training in Boca Raton when the crash occurred.
An NTSB investigator told The Daily Commercial that the airplane went down in a remote area of the National Park, requiring a Sikorsky helicopter and airboats to reach the crash site. The men’s bodies were recovered on Tuesday.
According to The Daily Commercial, the Cirrus SR22 aircraft is the top-selling aircraft in its class in the U.S. and abroad, with a base price over $500,000.
Mr. Ruano had logged more than 6,000 hours flying experience. He was also an experienced helicopter pilot who once flew helicopter charters in Manhattan. In addition to single-engine aircraft, he also piloted twin-engine and corporate airplanes.