The crash reportedly happened on Friday afternoon at Witham Field, where the Stuart Air Show was scheduled for this past weekend.
“It was in its practice routine and it went nose down into the runway,” Treasure Coast Newspapers reported Chris Kammel, bureau chief of Martin County Fire Rescue EMS, said.
The Grumman OV-1 Mohawk airplane was reportedly fully engulfed in flames and witnesses outside the airport reported seeing black smoke after the crash. The fire was quickly extinguished.
The Stuart Air Show posted a picture of the doctor on Instagram and wrote, “On Friday, November 1, 2019, we lost Dr. Joseph Masessa while preparing for this weekend’s event. Joe was a beloved performer of the air show, a local Floridian, and will forever be family.”
“He will always be remembered as we move forward in future endeavors. On behalf of the Audi Stuart Air Show, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Masessa family.”
Masessa, a dermatologist, worked at five locations across New Jersey, as well as at a Florida office, according to WABC-TV.
Sheriff William Snyder of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office reportedly said Masessa, an experienced pilot, had performed at the air show in previous years and was from South Florida.
Since the Stuart Air Show started 30 years ago, this is the first plane crash the event has seen, the newspaper reported, citing officials.
According to a statement, the air show was canceled due to weather on Friday night and early Saturday morning.
“We put the safety of our patrons, attendees and performers first in every decision we make,” the statement said.
The air show was supposed to resume on Sunday, but a tweet from The Audi Stuart Air Show Sunday morning said, “Due to safety concerns since the rain has not let up as forecasted, all air show activates have been canceled. Safety is our utmost concern.”
A spokesman with The Federal Aviation Administration told Fox News The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting the investigation. The NTSB did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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