Vol. 5 Num 558 Wed. December 21, 2005  

20 killed in plane crash off Miami Beach

A seaplane crashed just off Miami Beach within sight of the city's high-rises Monday, killing all 20 people aboard. Witnesses said the aircraft exploded in flames as it came down, and the FBI joined the investigation.

Amateur video obtained by CNN showed the main part of the plane slamming into the water followed by a flaming object trailing thick black smoke.

Scuba divers and rescuers in speedboats struggled to reach the victims, but as evening fell, they found no sign that anyone survived.

The Chalk's Ocean Airways plane a twin-engine Grumman G-73T Turbine Mallard went down around 2:30 p.m. after taking off from Miami for the island of Bimini in the Bahamas.

The Coast Guard said 19 bodies were found. The 1940s-era plane was carrying two crew members and 18 passengers, including three infants, authorities said.

Miami Dade rescue teams work at the scene of an aircraft accident off the Jetty in Government Cut in south Miami Beach, Florida Monday. PHOTO: AFP