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Saturday, March 2, 2024

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Emergency Crews Working Reports Of Crashed Plane In Winter Haven Lake

Update 10pm: Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigators are confirming that four people have been located who were in the two planes that crashed. All four are deceased. Three of those are:

Faith Irene Baker, 24, of Winter Haven, a pilot/flight instructor with Sunrise Aviation (Cherokee Piper 161)
Zachary Jean Mace, 19, of Winter Haven, a student at Polk State College (Cherokee Piper 161)
Randall Elbert Crawford, 67, from Carlisle, Pennsylvania (Piper J-3 Cub)

Deputies are working to confirm the identity of a fourth deceased person (Piper J-3 Cub). Once a positive identification has been made, and next of kin notification has been made, we will release the identity.

All four located persons are the only occupants of the planes. It is no longer a search and rescue operation, but 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.” -Grady Judd, Sheriff

Update 8pm: Polk County Sheriff’s Office Update:

Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigators are confirming that the two small airplanes involved in the mid-air crash over Lake Hartridge in Winter Haven have been positively identified:

1 A Piper J-3 Cub sea plane operated by Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven
2 A Cherokee Piper 161 fixed wing plane operated by Sunrise Aviation (Ormond Beach) on behalf of Polk State College

Investigators have not positively identified those who were on the planes. Once positive identification has been made and next of kin notification has been made, we will release their identities.

At this point in the search and rescue operation, two deceased bodies have been located.

Update: Winter Haven Police and Winter Haven Fire have responded to Lake Hartridge where two small planes have collided. Assistance is also being given by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Polk County Fire Rescue.
At this time the water is being searched and there is also an air search being conducted.

Winter Haven, Florida- The Winter Haven Fire Department and the Polk County Fire Rescue is currently on scene of a reported plane(s) crash into a Winter Haven lake. According to 911 calls a plane or planes crashed into Lake Hartridge.

Crews are currently working on the North West side of the lake in the Hartridge Hills Ct. area. This is a very active scene with 11 crews on scene and another 9 crews headed to the scene.

We believe injuries are involved. This is a developing story. We will update as more information becomes available.

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