Pilot that crashed on St. Pete street may have run out of gas

Posted at 4:14 PM, Oct 18, 2017

A pilot that crashed on a busy residential street in St Petersburg Wednesday may have run out of gas. 

The plane crashed on 18th Avenue South in a busy residential area. 

The pilot, Manuel Izquierdo, radioed to airport dispatch that his fuel was critically low just moments before he crashed. He asked for permission to land at the nearest airfield, but didn't make it that far. Both he and his passenger, Ronald Bizick are both okay and are already out of the hospital. 

Izquierdo was able to avoid hundreds of homes and businesses in the area, but hit two SUVs along 18th Avenue South. 

Kim Grooms, in the black SUV, says she is blessed to be alive. She was released from the hospital Wednesday night with some muscle pain and no other injuries. 

Alphonsine Dean and her young grandson were in the grey SUV hit by the plane. They are both okay as well. Friends of Dean say it's "a miracle."

Scott McEwan, a pilot of 33 years was also shocked. "It's quite a feat. I know he hit a couple cars but all in all an amazing job by the pilot to get that plane on the ground and have everyone walk away," he said.

The N.T.S.B. is still investigating the crash and say it will take a week for a report on the crash to be finalized, but McEwan says in his experience it is possible to run out of fuel in a Cessna.“It happens more often than you think. Airplane fuel gages are notoriously inaccurate and pilots sometimes push the envelope too far," he said.

The crash happened around 3:46 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of 18th Ave. S. and 16th St.

A business owner said his surveillance cameras caught the plane gliding over an SUV on the road.

"Part of the engine caught on fire and the pilot ran out of the airplane, ran to the building and he started telling everybody get away, get away," said Derar Ahmad, a nearby business owner.

An FAA spokesperson said the Cessna 402B was headed to Albert Whitted Airport when the accident happened.

FAA and NTSB will determine why the plane crashed. FAA officials were on scene Wednesday night.

"It's probably one of the craziest things I've seen in my life," said witness Tabitha Callihan.