Two small planes collided in midair Tuesday over Winter Haven, Florida, killing four people and leading to a large presence of first responders.
A college student and a local flight instructor were among the four people killed in the crash Tuesday afternoon, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
Polk State College student Zachary Jean Mace, 19, and Sunrise Aviation pilot and flight instructor Faith Irene Baker, 24, were pronounced dead as a result of the crash. Both are from Winter Haven.
A third victim was identified as Randall Elbert Crawford, 67, of Pennsylvania, according to the sheriff’s office. The fourth victim has not yet been identified.
The four victims were the only occupants of the planes, and the sheriff’s office said the search and rescue mission turned into a recovery operation.
“My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who were killed in today’s crash. The NTSB and FAA will be investigating the cause and circumstances of the collision. Please keep the families in your prayers during this difficult and stressful time,” Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters.
The collision occurred above Lake Hartridge near Winter Haven Regional Airport at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
One plane, a Cherokee Piper 161 fixed-wing plane, was operated by Sunrise Aviation on behalf of Polk State College. Mace and Baker were the occupants of this plane.
The other plane was a Piper J-3 Cub seaplane that was operated by Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office chief of staff Steve Lester told reporters that one plane partially submerged, while the other was fully submerged 21 feet underwater.
The cause of the collision is unclear at this time.