December 19, 2005

Seaplane crashes in Miami, 6 dead: Coast Guard

MIAMI (Reuters) - A seaplane crashed and sank off Miami Beach into the city's main shipping channel on Monday, killing at least six people, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The seaplane, which flies between downtown Miami and the Bahamas, crashed just off the southern tip of Miami Beach after taking off with 14 passengers and two crew on board, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said.

"We have six bodies recovered so far," Judge said.

Witnesses told local television the plane seemed to explode in the sky and fell into Government Cut, the entry to the Port of Miami, where it came to rest in shallow water next to a jetty.

"There was a huge explosion in the sky, a big ball of smoke," witness Frank Amadeo, told Miami's Channel 7 television. "It just sort of spiraled downward," he added.

The Coast Guard said the channel was closed to ship traffic.