A small place crashed in a cow pasture near a luxury home development Thursday, killing the four men on board, officials said.
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk went down shortly after 9 a.m. near a development of 20-acre equestrian homes known as Martin County Ranches, said Martin County Assistant Fire-Rescue Chief Henry Johnson. The crash about 50 miles from West Palm Beach was first reported by a resident in neighboring Okeechobee County, he said.
"The airport did not get a mayday call," Johnson said.
The identities of the four men killed were not released. The plane had taken off from an airport in Lantana but its flight plan was not immediately clear, said Martin County sheriff's spokeswoman Rhonda Irons.
The plane, built in 1999, is registered to Rohan Aviation Inc., which is a trademark of Kemper Aviation Inc. Ashley Miles, who answered the company's dispatch line in Lantana, said there was no comment or information available. The company operates a flight school in Lantana.
Johnson said there was a small fire and fuel leak but both were under control shortly after rescue crews responded to the crash. No one was injured on the ground and no homes or other buildings were damaged.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Warren Woodberry said the agency is investigating the crash. He said the cause was unknown. He added that the FAA recently conducted an inspection of Rohan Aviation maintenance and operations.
"The FAA is reviewing the results of that inspection. Until the review is complete the FAA cannot disclose the results of the inspection nor can we determine if enforcement action will result," he said.
Irons said National Transportation Safety Board investigators and sheriff's detectives were also on the scene.