POLK COUNTY, Florida (CW44 News 10 p.m.) – Approx. 14.30 on Wednesday 12 January 2022, a 2-seaplane (1946 Yellow Piper J3C-65 SN: 16133, N88509) attempted to land on Lake Smart.
Shortly after the pontoons landed on the lake, one of the wings dived into the water, causing the plane to catapult upward about 50 feet before first crashing with its nose into an orange grove about 40 feet from Lake Smart. The PCSO Emergency Communications Center received several 911 calls about the crash, and Winter Haven Police, Winter Haven Fire and PCSO deputies responded immediately to the area.
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There were two adults on board the plane at the time of the crash: 77-year-old John “Jack” Hamilton of Elizabethton, TN, an authorized pilot, and 22-year-old Landen MacFarland of Stuart, a flight instructor. Mr. Hamilton was visiting the Orlando area of Tennessee. He arrived at the Jack Brown seaplane base in Winter Haven and requested to fly with an instructor for a refresher course.
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Both pilots were transported to a local hospital where they are being treated for serious injuries. Both men are listed in critical condition.
No one on earth was injured.
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the crash. Please direct any further inquiries about the crash to these agencies.