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Pilot killed at Tampa airport was a mechanic | News

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Pilot killed at Tampa airport was a mechanic

Tampa, Florida -- We are learning more about the pilot who was killed in a crash at a local airport Sunday afternoon.

54-year-old Ki Martin died Sunday after the plane he was piloting crashed on the runway at the Tampa Executive Airport.

"As we rolled by we realized there was a serious accident," says Paul Gallizzi, a pilot of 50 years.

He says when the plane he was flying landed, they noticed something wasn't right on the runway next to them.

"As we rolled by we realized there was a serious accident," says Gallizzi. "The airplane was severely damaged."

Now officials aren't exactly sure what went wrong, but they said right after takeoff the plane was in the air for a short amount of time before nosediving on the runway.


"I don't know if it was a power failure or pilot error, but the plane did crash just off the runway," says Larry McKinnon, with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "If this was a practice session or taking off it still remains to be seen."

Above is a picture of Ki Martin, taken from the airport's website. Martin worked at the airport as a subcontractor for Sarasota Avionics. He was a mechanic and worked on planes.

10 News stopped by the Martin's home Sunday and neighbors, who didn't want to go on camera, told us Martin kept to himself mostly but was always friendly when they saw him.

The president of Sarasota Avionics, Kirk Fryar, released the following statement Monday on Ki Martin's death:

"Sarasota Avionics Inc. is deeply saddened by the tragic death of our employee, Ki Martin, after his single-engine airplane crashed Sunday afternoon at Tampa Executive Airport.

Ki Martin was a true gentleman of Aviation and will be greatly missed. He was an accomplished pilot, as well as a personal friend and mentor to many of us.

We will miss his quick wit, infectious laugh, and wisdom. Undoubtedly, his presence will stay with us forever.

Ki cherished his privacy; he always appreciated the works of good will from people. He is survived by his family and all of us who had the good fortune of knowing him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."

Officials say there are still a lot of questions left unanswered and will be working with the FAA to figure out what caused the crash.

Sunday: Plane crash at Tampa airport, pilot killed



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