Pilot identified in deadly plane crash

- The NTSB and FAA will lead an investigation into what caused a deadly plane crash at the Clearwater Airpark on Friday night.

Officials identified the pilot as James R. Fink, 44 ,of Exeter, Rhode Island. 

Fink was the only person on board a single-engine Cirrus plane when it crashed around 7:30 p.m. Friday.

An employee at the Airpark called for help after spotting the wreckage in a grassy median beside an airstrip where planes typically take off.

Paramedics pulled Fink from the wreckage, but he died on scene. Clearwater Police said they have reason to believe the victim is not a resident of Tampa Bay.

"From all indications, the aircraft is registered from out of state, so we're not thinking that the person is local, but that's still way up in the air,” said Rob Shaw, spokesperson for Clearwater Police and Fire.

Police said an initial investigation shows the plane may have flipped in the air due to strong winds, causing it to crash upside down before making it to the landing strip.

“We’re waiting on the NTSB and the FAA to come here and take over the official investigation. I think one of the theories is that the plane was landing on runway 1-6, and about the same time, there are a lot of gusty winds out here, so about that same time, a gust of wind might have caused it to flip and overturn on its top,” said Shaw.

The Clearwater Airpark is a popular place for plane enthusiasts and owners of private planes.

Clearwater Police are hoping someone who witnessed the crash or recorded any video, will reach out to them to shed some light on what may have led up to the tragic accident. The NTSB and FAA are expected to arrive in Clearwater at 3 p.m. Saturday to take over the investigation. Clearwater Police said until then, the airstrip will remain closed.

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