Four dead as two planes crash into each other


Two small planes have reportedly crashed into each other over a lake in central Florida, killing all four people onboard.

Three of the four victims have been identified, including a flight instructor, a college student and a 67-year-old man.

Where the planes departed from and what caused the deadly collision remains unknown, deputies have said.

Witnesses recalled the planes plummeting into the water.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said on Tuesday night that all of the bodies had been located in Lake Hartridge in Winter Haven, Florida, and that officials are currently executing a “recovery operation”.

It was reported that the crash happened around 14:00 EST (19:00 GMT) near the Winter Haven Regional Airport & FBO.

After the collision, one of the planes was 21ft (6m) under water while the other was partially submerged.

One of the two planes involved was a Cherokee Piper 161. It carried Faith Irene Baker, 24, a flight instructor with Sunrise Aviation, and Zachary Jean Mace, 19, a student at Polk State College.

The Cherokee Piper 161, a fixed-wing aircraft, was being operated on behalf of Polk State College, local media reported.

Mr Judd said the other plane was a Piper J-3 Club, a float plane, that was carrying Randall Elbert Crawford, 67, and one other person.

“Deputies are working to confirm the identity of a fourth deceased person,” Mr Judd said. “Once a positive identification has been made, and next of kin notification has been made, we will release the identity.”

“My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who were killed in today’s crash,” Mr Judd said.

He added that the NTSB and FAA will be investigating the accident to determine the cause.

Polk State College released a statement on the deaths of Ms Baker and Mr Mace: “Our Polk State College family is devastated by this tragedy.