The kit plane piloted by a television fishing show host killed in a crash in Everglades City earlier this month reached an altitude of 100 to 150 feet before it nose-dived, according to a preliminary report.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its early findings in the April 6 crash that killed Jose Wejebe, host of "Spanish Fly," a saltwater fishing show on the Outdoor Channel and formerly on ESPN.
In the report, investigators said, Webeje was flying an "experimental amateur-built" plane bound for Merritt Island Airport, an oceanside airport about 50 miles east of Orlando. A witness told investigators that Webeje left an Everglades City runway and rose about 100 to 150 feet when he made a sharp right turn and started nose-diving.
The plane crashed about 275 yards from the runway, the report said.
No flight plan was created, the report said. Near the time of the crash, winds at Naples Municipal Airport, about 30 miles northwest of Everglades Airpark, were measured at about 14 mph, with gusts up to 24 mph.
Webeje held a private pilot certificate and recently had a Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate issued, the report said.
In February, Webeje reported about 1,200 hours of total flight experience.
Wejebe was known for his extensive travels chasing big fish, which took him from the Gulf of Mexico to the Galapagos. Born in Cuba, he fled to Miami with his family after Fidel Castro's revolution, according to his website.
He made it into the mainstream in 1995 when the first episode of Spanish Fly aired on ESPN-2, following him on fishing expeditions. A second show, Vida del Mar, followed on ESPN in 2001.