2 dead after seaplane crashes in Auburndale’s Lake Arietta

Polk County

AUBURNDALE, Fla. (WFLA) — Dennis Jackson was working on his pool deck Friday afternoon when he heard a plane in distress.

He looked up and saw a seaplane soaring over Lake Arietta.

“I was thinking, I hope that plane pulls up pretty soon because if it isn’t, it’s going to probably be in my living room,” he said.

That’s when Jackson saw the plane crash straight down into the water and explode into flames.

“It makes me – I want to throw up. It affects me very badly because I watch the thing come in realizing this could be the last day on earth for me and it was for whoever was in that plane. It’s not an easy feeling,” he said.

Auburndale police Chief Andy Ray confirmed that two people, a man and a woman, died in the crash. It is not known which victim was the pilot but a release noted the plane was registered “locally”

The aircraft, described as a seaplane, was under 15 feet of water as divers looked for the victims.

Video from a bystander showed smoke rising from the crash site.

Chief Ray said Lake Arietta and surrounding lakes are frequently used for landing practice.

“Very popular for seaplanes to touch and go. Brown’s Seaplane Base is one of the businesses that’s at the Winter Haven airport. They train a lot of pilots. This particular plane wasn’t apparently from Brown’s Seaplane Base,” Chief Ray said.

The NTSB will investigate the cause of the crash.

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