Fire Chief Remembers Deadly Valujet Crash
For now-retired Miami-Dade Fire Chief Louie Fernandez, May 12th, 1996 is a day of special significance. That date marks the day a Valujet DC-9 plunged into the Florida Everglades 14 miles west of Miami.
At the time, Fernandez was a Lieutenant and was acting as the spokesperson for his department. On that day, he spent his time with the friends and family of the 110 people who died in the airplane crash. Fernandez has a stack of newspapers from that day that serve as reminders of that fateful day.
The rescue efforts for the crews were strange. There was no fire, no smoke that would serve as a tell-tale sign of where the plane went down. It took several passes by helicopters searching the area before sheen of hydraulic fluid and fuel for searchers to find the area.
The DC-9, with its control cables damaged the aircraft on fire, plunged nose first into the Everglades where it disintegrated and then disappeared.
It was a puzzlement to Fernandez as to how an aircraft could simply disappear like that – even 20 years later.
Divers and rescue workers took weeks to recover the shattered DC-9 and the bodies of those who were on board Flight 592. Having to inform family and loved ones that there was no hope of finding their loved one and that now the search had switched over to that of a recovery mission is something that Fernandez remembers quite well.
“It was one of the hardest events in my entire career,” he said.
Accidents involving airplanes, whether a commercial aircraft, can often cause serious or fatal injuries. For those who survive such accidents, or for the loved ones left behind, it can be catastrophic.
If you or a loved one has been injured or tragically lost in an aviation accident in the Miami-Dade area, give our offices a call. Having a good, experienced legal representation that can help you navigate through the complex claims process is important. We will be there to help you fight for fair compensation for any damages, expenses, and pain and suffering as a result of the accident. We are here to help. Your initial consultation and legal analysis are confidential and free.