The victims in Friday’s Auburndale plane crash were identified as a married couple from Winter Haven.
The two victims were John William Schmalz III, 70, and Lynann Elaine Kurr, 62, of Winter Haven, according to an Auburndale Police Department press release.
The plane they were flying was a Lake LA-250 Renegade amphibious aircraft.
“We want to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and also would like to acknowledge our partners at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Auburndale Fire Department for their significant assistance in this investigation,” the press release stated.
At approximately 12:25 p.m. on Friday, Auburndale Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to a report of a small plane crash on Lake Arietta in Auburndale. Officers and firefighters arrived to find a small fire still burning on the surface of the lake about 600 feet north of the south shoreline of Lake Arietta near the 2100 block of Kirkland Lake Drive.
Witnesses described the plane as moving toward the south, then making a turn toward the west, seeing the right wing dip, and then the plane entering the lake at a steep angle, catching fire when it hit the water. The fire chief boarded a private boat with a local resident immediately after arriving at the call and attempted to locate survivors in the area of the crash. Shortly thereafter, several members of the fire department boarded the fire department’s rescue watercraft and also attempted to locate survivors.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were notified.