By Spectrum News Staff and Erin Murray
MAITLAND, Fla. — Crews have recovered two bodies and a small plane that took off from Orlando Executive Airport and crashed into Lake Maitland.
- Cessna 182 took off from Orlando Executive Airport, FAA says
- It was en route to Massey Ranch Park in Volusia County
- Initial call from plane to the tower was regarding low fuel
Fire, rescue, and dive crews are at the lake. Investigators say a pilot and passenger were on board the plane, and that both bodies have been recovered from the water.
Authorities working out of a boat ramp on the 800 block of South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. First responders in boats can be seen from Whitecaps Circle, which is on the north side of Lake Maitland.
Maitland Police Department in a tweet said Fort Maitland Park will be closed until authorities recover the plane from the water.
The Cessna 182 crashed at about 11 a.m. and was en route to Massey Ranch Airpark in Edgewater, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Authorities say the plane came from South Carolina.
A “low fuel” report was broadcast just before the plane went down.
Maitland’s fire department received assistance from the Orange County Fire Department’s dive team, said Maitland spokesman Robert Sargent.
Divers searched the murky water for four hours when they finally found the plane and recovered the bodies of the men.
“Their next process will be to would be to remove the plane from the water. And then NTSB will take possession of that and conduct their investigation from this point,” said Lt. Louis Grindle.
Fisher Omans was out on the water in his own boat when the plane crashed. He was one of the first people to try and help and says he saw someone trying to make it to stay above the surface.
“By the time the man in the other boat was able to jump in the water and try to grab him, he was already sunk down. If I had to put a time on it, it was one and a half, two seconds,” Omans said.
Mike Magaldino lives on the water and saw the plane crash.
“As soon as it hit, I started running for my boat keys, and I would go see if he is alright, but it started going down really fast. Two small boats went on the scene. I saw a guy dive in — he said he saw the body but couldn’t recover it,” Magaldino recalled.
Massey Ranch Airpark, a coastal fly-in community in southeast Volusia County, has been a public licensed airport since 1957. It has a 4,360-foot-long, 60-foot-wide lighted and paved runway. Residential properties are clustered along the east side of the development. Commercial and industrial properties are on the west side. All properties have taxiway access.
Lake Maitland spans 449 acres, according to Orange County’s water atlas, and is more than 24 feet deep at its deepest point.
The FAA will investigate the crash, and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the cause, the FAA said.