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Initial reports indicate loss of power caused private plane to crash in downtown Cape

By Staff | Aug 9, 2017

A loss of engine power appears to be what caused a plane to crash in Cape Coral last month.

On July 7, Daniel Henry Fase, 51, of Sanibel, was flying a single-engine Cessna 172 when he was forced to land on Miramar Street shortly before 10 a.m., according to officials. During the attempt, the plane clipped a power line, flipped over and crash landed wheels-up near the Dolphin Key Resort.

Fase sustained minor injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment.

According to the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency responsible for investigating and determining the probable cause of civil aviation accidents, the plane “experienced a total loss engine power,” then was substantially damaged in the forced landing.

It notes that Fase had departed for the personal flight from Page Field in Fort Myers.

According to Fase, he noticed a partial loss of engine power at an altitude of 1,200 feet. He immediately changed his course to return to Page Field and applied carburetor heat to regain power. The plane continued to run rough on partial power, but it maintained an altitude of 800 feet.

“As the pilot planned for an emergency landing, the engine lost all power,” the report states. “He notified air traffic control and began an emergency descent. The airplane struck power lines and collided with the ground nose first.”

An initial examination by the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the nose of the plane was crushed. The engine was also displaced and crushed against the firewall. There was buckling throughout the fuselage and the empennage was partially separated from the airframe, the report states.

The plane was retained for further examination.

Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the NTSB, previously explained that a full investigation by the agency typically takes approximately 12 months to 18 months to complete.

Fase is a deputy with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, officials reported.

On July 7, police and fire crews responded to the crash. First-responders helped direct traffic, while mitigation was conducted around the crash site, where fuel and other fluids had leaked from the plane. As estimated 1,800 LCEC customers were immediately without power because of the crash landing.

By 2:30 p.m., power had been restored to all of the affected customers.

Joan Weaver was sitting on a bench under the portico of the Holiday Inn Express on Cape Coral Parkway East when she saw the small plane heading eastbound toward Del Prado Boulevard.

“I just saw this plane coming down lower, lower and lower,” she said on the morning of the accident. “It took a few seconds to realize what was happening. It disappeared and then I heard the crash.”

“It was a large boom sound and then you heard the transformers and wires,” Weaver added.

Fase could not be reached for comment Tuesday on the preliminary report.