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9-year-old girl dies after being hit by a plane on a Florida beach

9-year-old girl dies after being hit by a small plane while walking on a Florida beach
Army sergeant and 9-year-old daughter walking on Florida beach are killed after a small plane hits them

A 9-year-old girl who was hit by a small plane when it crashed on a Florida beach Sunday has died from her injuries, officials said.

A spokesman for the medical examiner in Largo, Fla., confirmed that Oceana Irizzary died at a hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Monday evening.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Irizarry was walking with her father, 36-year-old Army Sgt. 1st Class Ommy Irizarry, on a beach in Venice, Fla., on Sunday afternoon when a Piper Cherokee made an emergency landing on the beach, hitting both father and child. Ommy Irizarry, who was stationed at Ft. Stewart in Georgia, was pronounced dead at the scene. His daughter was critically injured and taken to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Family members requested privacy as they grieve, but released a statement through officials at the hospital, thanking first responders and doctors.

“There are no words to describe the suffering we are experiencing,” the family said. “Our precious Oceana has joined her daddy in heaven.”

The family described her as a “beautiful, intelligent, and kind-hearted girl,” who loved art and would have been entering the fourth grade soon. They described Ommy Irizarry as a devoted husband and father who “lit up the room whenever he entered.”

The Venice airport had alerted Sarasota County sheriff's deputies at about 2:45 p.m. Sunday that a small plane was in distress and attempting to land on the beach.

Sheriff’s officials identified the pilot of the plane as 57-year-old Karl Kokomoor and his passenger as 60-year-old David Theen.

Neither of the men were injured, the authorities said.

The National Transportation Safety Board, with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration, is investigating the crash, and Sarasota County sheriff’s officials will investigate the deaths.

For more breaking news, follow me on Twitter @cmaiduc.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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