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News Releases

Pilot Dies When Plane Plunges Into Winter Haven Home

Posted February 25th, 2019

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation after a small plane crashed into a home at 2735 Idylridge Drive in Winter Haven, at about 12:43 P.M. Saturday, February 23, 2019. One person was killed, and two others have relatively minor injuries.

Winter Haven Police officers were first on scene and immediately made entry into the home after hearing a teenager was trapped inside. Winter Haven Fire personnel entered shortly and ultimately the teen was freed from a space where she was pinned between a wall and the airplane. Miraculously, she received only minor injuries.

64-year-old James Wagner of Lakeland died at the scene. Wagner was the instructor pilot of the UC-1 Twin SeaBee plane that had just taken off from Winter Haven’s Gilbert Airport.

33-year-old Timothy Sheehy of Bozeman, Montana was a student pilot in the plane, and suffered only minor injuries. Sheehy was able to exit the crashed plane on his own.

Preliminary information is that the pilots were conducting simulated engine failure. It is not known at this time what caused the crash.