Another small plane crash on a Sarasota County beach

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Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 10:23 pm

SIESTA KEY, Fla. --  For the second time in less than three weeks, a small plane made a crash landing on a Sarasota County beach.

Just before Noon Tuesday, the Air Traffic Control tower at SRQ called 911. A small red bi-plane lost its engine and crashed on to Siesta Key Beach not far from the busy public beach area.

"He saw Siesta Key Beach, he saw there was a lot of people on the beach, he did his best to get away from the populated area and put it down in a safe location," said Lt. Daniel Tutko of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

The pilot has been identified as Earle Swan, 75, of Bradenton. His passenger was Martin Thomas, 51, of Cape Coral.

"He had engine trouble, at some point the engine cut off and he was forced to make the emergency landing," Lt. Tutko said.

A similar accident late last month on Caspersen Beach in Venice didn't end as well. The pilot of a distressed plane crash landed near the water's edge, striking and killing a father and daughter who were here on vacation.

Despite the recent plane crashes, local pilot and aerial photographer Troy Morgan doesn't think more regulations are needed. He says flying remains safer than driving.

"I think the regulations are good. I think they're fair and thorough. It's very unfortunate when this happened, this is a very odd occurrence, but I don't think further regulations would prevent such a thing from happening again," Morgan said.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating.

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