Elderly couple injured when plane crashes onto garage in Lake Alfred

LAKE ALFRED, Fla. (WFLA) -- An elderly couple was taken to the hospital after their plane crashed into a garage Friday in Lake Alfred.

Investigators with the Polk County Sheriff's Office say emergency dispatchers received a call at 9:53 a.m. about a small plane crashing into a house located at 1150 South Buena Vista Drive.

Lake Alfred Police Department officers arrived on-scene and found the pilot, 84-year-old John Murphy, and his wife, 75-year-old Doris Murphy, both of 585 Sellars Drive in Lake Alfred.

The loud noise sent neighbor Mark Henke running outside. "I heard a big boom, and then everything just went silent," Henke said.

He helped pull Doris Murphy out of the plane.

"There was a guy over there already, and he said help, help! So I ran around the back where the plane was. They had a guy on the ground from the plane. So I helped get the woman out. She was kind of trapped in there, and we wiggled her out. The guy, he was laying on the ground he had a big bash on his head."

The couple suffered non-life-threatening injuries. They were both taken to a local hospital where they are in stable condition.

Investigators say the plane, a Republic Seabee, lost altitude shortly after takeoff and struck a detached garage.

"This plane left from Winter Haven Airport, and shortly after takeoff had some type of engine failure," said Lake Alfred Police Chief Art Bodenheimer.

Nobody was home at the time, otherwise, Chief Bodenheimer said the outcome could have been much worse.

"In this path, we have a whole neighborhood full of homes, including this one. We have some very high power lines that could've been catastrophic. God was looking out for these people, and the homeowners that would usually be here."

The FAA is investigating. The plane will be guarded overnight and removed sometime Saturday morning.


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