NTSB investigates Collier plane crash that killed Spanish Fly fishing show host

Jose Wejebe, host of Spanish Fly


Jose Wejebe, host of Spanish Fly

Video from NBC-2

— An investigation is under way in Everglades City to determine what caused the Friday plane crash that killed the host of a popular TV fishing show.

Jose Wejebe, who hosted “Spanish Fly,” a saltwater fishing show on the Outdoor Channel and formerly on ESPN, died when his kit plane plummeted into a field near the runway shortly after takeoff from Everglades Airpark.

An investigator sent Saturday to Everglades City for two or three days will release a preliminary report of the findings soon after, said an official with the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates civil aviation accidents.

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the NTSB, said the investigator will look at three areas — man, machine and environment — to determine the cause of the crash.

“She will document the wreckage and see if it had a role in (the crash). She will look at the engine,” Knudson said. “She will get a statement from the witness, since we were informed by police that there was one.”

Former Collier EMS Chief Jeff Page was chartering a boat when the crash happened, he told NBC-2, a news partner of the Daily News. Page told the TV station that he saw the aircraft take off from the Everglades City Airport after 4:30 p.m. Friday and then felt the winds shift.

He said he thinks the plane got caught in a crosswind before hitting the ground and exploding.

“The plane popped up and it looked like it got its nose too high into the wind and it almost put it straight vertical,” he told NBC-2. “The initial exploding of when it hit, there was no way anyone could survive it — no way anyone could even approach the plane.”

Knudson said weather will be looked at as a factor of the crash, as well as what Wejebe did in the last 72 hours before his flight.

“It’s routine to see if there was something he did that might have affected what happened,” he said.

Knudson said the Federal Aviation Administration and the manufacturer of the Comp Air 8, which is the kit plane Wejebe was flying, also will send representatives to assist with the investigation. Wejebe is the registered owner of the plane, according to FAA records.

Tom Hornish, chief executive officer and president of Outdoor Channel Holdings Inc., the network that aired Wejebe’s show, said the channel was “deeply saddened” at learning of Wejebe’s passing.

“He was a great sportsman who thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors as well as a sincere, caring individual,” he said in a statement. “We, along with his fans, will miss him greatly.”

Fans took to Wejebe’s Facebook fan page in droves, posting messages of condolence under Wejebe’s last posted photo on the page, a picture of a tarpon being caught on his new boat.

“I lived vicariously through Jose 30 minutes at a time,” wrote fan Bobbi Hendricks Worthington on the Facebook page. “An irreplaceable loss to the fishing world. May the Spanish Fly forever sail on calm seas.”

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 9

attaboy writes:

In my journey so far I've been blessed to know a few very caring individuals. I met Jose a few years ago and only spent a brief period with him and some other friends. I am a better person for knowing him and this world is a better place for having hosted his journey. God Bless

savethewhalz writes:

Rest in peace Jose Wejebe. Though it's no consolation, you'll never read about me dying while my homemade airplane hits the ground.

blueblueblue writes:

"Spanish Fly" fishing host?
NDN is becoming more and more National Enquirer every day.

  • April 7, 2012
  • 10:22 p.m.
deepseakc writes:

in response to blueblueblue:

"Spanish Fly" fishing host?
NDN is becoming more and more National Enquirer every day.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

wentfishn writes:

He was a cool guy. Sad.

stonnerjohnnyII writes:

He was on his way to rescue the rest of Rubio's family

Bkeys writes:

in response to fingerbang:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He was Cuban. Not Spanish! Before YOU post such stupidity... you know what? Just don't post about something or someone you know nothing about. A great man just died and you insulted him by trying to claim he was from Spain just because he spoke Spanish. It's morons like yourself that Jose could not stand but put up with. Sorry, I'm not Jose and I'm here to tell you you're the s-----, untraveled, uneducated one.

Jose was a friend since the early 90's. He lived a hell of a life and was extremely respected. With a name like "fingerbang" I couldn't imagine how pathetic of a person you must be and how embarrassed your parents, wife and children must be if you have any. I sincerely wish you and the millions of other morons like you were the ones leaving this earth in replacement for this one great man.

Iggy writes:

I am not sure where all of the hateful posts are coming from. I see that the other article about this sad incident had to have the posts disabled and it takes a LOT of s----- for NDN to disable those so I would guess people jumped right on the ignorant train there too.

Before you go bashing his show for having a catchy name or him for being hispanic you should realize what kind of person he was. This was a man that did very well for himself with an honest job. He took great care of his clients and was wonderful to people in general. A kind and true soul that REALLY cared about others.

It is so sad that so many of you people hate your lives so badly that you have to come to places like NDN on the internet hiding behind your computers and be so hateful and mean about an honorable man that has just passed away. What exactly did he do to you to make you so hateful?

I would suggest some of you look in the mirror a little more and stop trying to make up for your own short comings by attacking good people like this. I will miss Jose and think that this world is a little less compassionate after losing him.

Rest Easy Sir! May your family find peace in their hearts and keep your memory with them forever. You will be missed!

citydesk (staff) writes:

From an NDN editor: We kept comments open on this story so that people could offer their observations about Jose Wejebe but are now closing them based on some of the comments made.


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