Venice, FL -- A vacationing soldier was killed and his 9-year-old daughter critically injured Sunday while walking along a Bay area beach when a small plane crash landed on the Gulf Coast only feet from the surf, authorities said.
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"It's the last thing you'd expect," says 17-year-old Zack Arceneaux who witnessed the plane going down. He says even though he took the above photos, this tragedy on the beach still doesn't seem real.
"I saw that a plane had gone down over there. First thing I saw was the wheel knocked off and the propeller bent," says Arceneaux.
Around 3 p.m Sunday, the sheriff's office says the pilot a 1972 Piper Cherokee, 57-year-old Karl Kokomoor, reported that his single engine plane couldn't make It back to the airport and he was going to try and land on Caspersen Beach.
"That's what he did at the edge of the water; at the edge of the sand pilot and passenger escaped unharmed," says Wendy Rose, Public Information Officer with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
Unfortunately, a family was walking on the beach at that time when the plane hit 36-year-old Ommy Irizarry and his young daughter, 9-year-old Oceana. The father was killed.
Shortly before the accident, Irizarry posted on his Facebook page that Sunday was his ninth wedding anniversary. "Thank you for being with me through thick and thin. I love you with all my heart, mi Roma," he wrote.
Irizarry was an Army sergeant stationed in Fort Stewart, Georgia.
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"I didn't hear anything. Actually I thought the motor must've went out. I didn't hear anything. Figured, maybe it ran out of fuel and just hit them and they weren't ready," says Arcenaux. "I was not expecting to come to the beach and see a plane on the ground."
The young girl was Bayflighted to All Children's Hospital. Rose says that as of 12 p.m. Monday Oceana is still in critical condition, The pilot and a passenger on the plane, 60-year-old David Theen, were unharmed.
The NTSB is investigating the cause of the plane crash. As of Monday morning, the plane was still on the beach, but is expected to be removed later in the afternoon.
A family member of the victim was transported to a local hospital after going into cardiac arrest upon finding out the tragic news.
911 Call of the Plane Crash:
Here is some of one of the 911 calls reporting the accident:
Operator: Are you involved in the situation other than a witness?
Caller: It's my friend's husband. His daughter was hit and he was hit.
Caller: Yes, I'm with him right now.
Operator: I'm going to tell you what to do next. Don't move him unless he's in danger.
Caller: (Crying) Oh, my God!
Operator: Give me one moment.
Operator: Keep breathing.
Operator: Help is on the way right now. Is there any serious bleeding?
Caller: Is there serious bleeding right now? Yes, there's serious bleeding.
'A heart-wrenching situation'
Fort Stewart confirmed Monday that Irizarry was assigned to the Army base's Warrior Transition Battalion. Sgt. 1st Class Irizarry joined the Army in 2002 and had been at Fort Stewart since October 2010. He served two deployments to Iraq.
"This is a heart-wrenching situation, especially losing loved ones while on vacation to celebrate a family milestone," 3rd Infantry Division and Stewart-Hunter commander Maj. Gen. Mike Murray said in a written statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Irizarry family."
A casualty assistance officer is being sent to Florida to assist Irizarry's family.
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