Small plane crashes into home in Winter Haven, authorities say

Pilot killed; flight student, girl inside home suffered minor injuries

By Tim Swift - Digital Editor

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - A pilot was killed when a small plane crashed into a home Saturday in Winter Haven, authorities said. A flight student and a teenage girl inside the home were hurt.

Rick Breitenfeldt, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said a STOL UC-1 aircraft  crashed just before 1 p.m. 

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said 64-year-old James Wagner a flight instructor from Lakeland, took student Timothy Sheehy, of Montana, on the flight to practice a simulated engine failure.

Judd said it was unclear whether the exercise was a factor in the crash.

"We do not know at this time in the investigation whether or not they were simulating engine failure,” he said. “So we don’t know if this was a training exercise gone bad."

Sheehy and Carmelle Ngalamulume suffered minor injuries, Judd said. Ngalamulume, who was in a bedroom when the plane crashed, was pinned against a wall. Several young children were playing outside the home but were unhurt.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

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