…with your seat belt fastened until the plane has come to a complete stop.
Pilot Robert Robertson sits in the remains of his plane, waiting for emergency services.
IT WAS like a scene out of a movie. A small cargo plane, flying over a busy highway, began losing steam and doing cartwheels in the sky over Florida.
Then it struck a warehouse, clipping its right wing, and crashed into a grassy swale on the side of the road — just metres from oncoming traffic.
The pilot of the fixed-wing twin-engine Beech 18, Robert Robertson, survived, with only minor injuries. The only person on board, Mr Robertson broke his left leg, left arm and nose and has a gash on his forehead.
"It was his lucky day," said witness Stewart McLeod. "The entire front of the plane was gone, and he was left sitting in his seat with his seatbelt on."
Mr Robertson, 34, had taken off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to deliver a plane full of cargo — shoes, clothing, nonperishable items and tyres — to Nassau, Bahamas.
Within minutes he issued a mayday to air traffic control.
"The aircraft wasn't gaining altitude," said a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. "Then, it went down."
The 43-year-old plane's cockpit was destroyed in the crash. Fire rescue crews were amazed to find Mr Robertson alive, said sheriff's office spokesman Mike Jachles. "There was no cockpit when they arrived on scene," he said. "He was breathing and conscious. He told the medics the engine cut out on take-off."
Charles Jules, a witness, said: "I was scared half to death. It was the scariest thing I ever saw. I mean it's a plane coming at you … Everyone thought he was dead. He was slumped over not moving. Then he slowly woke up, touched his head. He was disoriented."