Saturday, March 12, 2022

Van's RV-12iS, N123RR: Fatal accident occurred February 27, 2022 in Florida Bay, near Big Pine Key, Florida

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida

Location: Big Pine Key, Florida 
Accident Number: ERA22LA142
Date and Time: February 27, 2022, 09:58 Local
Registration: 123RR
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On February 27, 2022, about 0958 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Vans RV-12IS, N123RR, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident in Florida Bay, about 20 miles northwest of Big Pine Key, Florida. The sport pilot and passenger have not been located. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane was reported overdue to the Federal Aviation Administration on February 28, 2022, after the pilot did not report to work. The rudder and right horizontal stabilizer were located by the U.S. Coast Guard on March 4, 2022. As of the publication of this report, no other sections of the airplane have been located; however, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission planned an additional search. The pilot was not in radio contact with air traffic control at the time of the accident. Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Broadcast (ADS-B) data revealed that the airplane was in the vicinity of moderate precipitation at the end of the data.

According to a friend, the pilot usually received weather briefings via a ForeFlight app on his phone.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: 123RR
Model/Series: RV-12IS 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: NQX,24 ft msl 
Observation Time: 09:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 24 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C /21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2500 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 10°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3500 ft AGL 
Visibility: 5 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: West Palm Beach, FL (LNA)
Destination: Key West, FL (EYW)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 24.9215,-81.5805 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

MONROE COUNTY, Florida – The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Friday that it has suspended its search for a couple who is believed to be missing at sea after their plane crashed sometime Sunday.

The search was suspended on Thursday.

Coast Guard officials said divers with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office recovered two pieces of a plane Thursday, identifying the tail number of the missing single-engine plane on the ocean floor near Big Pine Key.

Officials believe the Vans RV-12 plane Alexandra “Ali” Tufo and her boyfriend Thomas “Tommy” Campana were flying from Fort Lauderdale to Key West Sunday crashed about 19 miles north of Big Pine Key.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Alexandra Tufo and Thomas Campana,” said Cmdr. Lindsey Seniuk, search and rescue mission coordinator, Coast Guard District Seven. “This was a challenging case and it made the decision to suspend that much harder after our partners found the debris field. The MCSO divers are the experts in this new phase of the search, and our crews will be ready if our assistance is requested.”

Coast Guard crews began searching for the overdue plane on Tuesday after they were alerted by the Federal Aviation Administration,

It’s unclear if Campana submitted a flight plan. He also did not have a FlightAware tracking system, which experts say isn’t uncommon for small single-engine planes.

In a statement, the FAA said: “The FAA does not require private aircraft operators to file flight plans, but recommends they do.”

“I don’t know why someone would do that, especially if you’re trying to have safety mechanisms in place,” Tufo’s sister, Lana Tufo, said. “She told me Tommy was an amateur pilot and he had gotten his license, and they had been going up into the air and she was really scared to go up in a small plane. But she was so happy she overcame her fear.”

NEAR BIG PINE KEY, Florida (WSVN) — Officials have suspended their search for a plane that disappeared near the Florida Keys.

Investigators said the aircraft had a couple onboard and took off Sunday from Palm Beach headed to Key West.

The sister of Alexandra Tufo, one of the people on the flight, told 7News that Coast Guard divers found the plane’s tail and wing in the open ocean near the original search area, 15 miles north of Big Pine Key.

Tufo and her boyfriend have not been found.

The Federal Aviation Administration first alerted local authorities on Tuesday that the single-engine plane went missing.

According to flight records, Tufo’s boyfriend received his pilot’s license in January.

Due to weather conditions, the recovery mission will continue on Tuesday.


  1. Bad omen aircraft was previously owned by a funeral home

    Date Owner Location Serial Number

    1. According to records, he got his pilot's license in January but bought the plane in August. Sounds like inexperienced pilot exceeding his capabilities, but unfortunately taking his reluctant passenger with him.

  2. "Search for survivors suspended after plane wreckage found off Florida Keys By David Goodhue Updated March 04, 2022 5:56 PM