TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — On Nov. 4, a small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Tampa after experiencing engine problems.
Five days later on Nov. 9, another plane reported a lack of throttle control and was forced to make an emergency landing in Sarasota Bay.
Another three days later on Nov. 12, a pilot splashed down in front of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents off of Cedar Key and later that day another pilot landed in Tampa Bay near MacDill Air Force base when his small, private plane had problems.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now investigating each incident, but aviation expert Captain John Cox says it’s unlikely they are related.
“The investigators will certainly look, but it would be very, very unlikely because we are talking about different types of airplanes, different types of engines and there really isn’t much commonality,” Cox, who is a retired commercial airline pilot with more than 14,000 hours of flight experience said.
“Things that will normally cause engines to fail are fuel, or water in fuel, or a mechanical anomaly that causes a hard failure which is pretty rare,” he added.
Cox says investigators will look at issues like fuel and mechanical factors, but he says pilots are trained to look for their own fuel problems before they take off.
“Pilots know to watch for water in the fuel and that’s part of the pre-flight routine and each one of these pilots is going to be very carefully interviewed by the investigators,” Cox said.