Saturday, July 23, 2016

Republic RC-3 Seabee, N87570: Accident occurred July 22, 2016 in Lake Alfred, Polk County, Florida

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 22, 2016 in Winter Haven, FL
Aircraft: REPUBLIC RC 3, registration: N87570
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 22, 2016, about 0930 eastern daylight time, a Republic RC-3, N87570, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from Winter Haven's Gilbert Airport (GIF), Winter Haven, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the private pilot incurred serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the commercial pilot, who was also the pilot flying the airplane, the takeoff was normal until about 300 feet above ground level, when the non-flying private pilot stated she smelled fuel. The engine lost power shortly thereafter and the airplane began to descend. The airplane hit some trees and the engine regained power, but the airplane then impacted terrain and came to rest.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest between a garage and fence. The right elevator was embedded into the roof of the garage. The right wing was bent back behind the fuselage and sliced by the propeller blades of the rear mounted engine. The fuselage was resting on the right side with the left wing pointing skyward. The left wing exhibited impact damage on the leading edge.

The airplane was retained for further examination.


Crews in Lake Alfred spent much of Saturday examining the wreckage left behind when a plane crashed onto a workshop garage just before 10 a.m. Friday.

On board the aircraft, a Republic Seabee, were John Murphy and his wife, Doris Murphy. They were transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center after the crash, and are expected to make a full recovery, according to Polk County deputies.

Homeowner John Bernache said the plane crash created quite the mess.

"A lot of damage. Besides the building, the fence is gone, my shed is totaled, the other trailer got damage to it,” said Bernache. "My pineapple crop is ruined."

Bernache said his chemotherapy appointment is the reason he wasn’t home when the crash happened.

"I always go on Thursday, but this week they changed it to Friday,” said Bernache.  “Otherwise, I would've been in there when the plane wrecked. "

Plane wrecks are all too familiar for Bernache, who is also a pilot.

"I have seven friends, seven close friends killed in a plane crash already,” Bernache said.

He's relieved the Murphys made it out of the wreck alive.

"I think they're really, really, lucky," said Bernache. "Really, really, lucky. After looking at the plane itself, I don't know how they survived."

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration were on scene Saturday looking into the crash. Investigators said they still have no idea why the plane came crashing down. They took the plane away from the scene so they could examine all of its components.


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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A married couple was hospitalized Friday after their plane crashed into the detached garage of a Polk County home. 

The pilot, John Murphy, 84, and his wife, Doris Murphy, 75, received non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash was reported just before 10 a.m. in the area Buena Vista Drive and Terrace Avenue West in Lake Alfred.

"It sounded like somebody turned on a gigantic wood chipper," said Mark Henke, who lives next-door.

Henke figured the ruckus belonged to workers clearing out the canal, but he was way off.

"I looked and said, oh there's a plane over there," he said.

Henke joined two other men and ran to help get the pilot and passenger out of the mangled wreckage.

"The woman didn't look too bad. She was kind of trapped in there and we wiggled her out," he said. "And the guy, he was laying on the ground and he had a big gash in his head."

Investigators believe the pilot lost power right after takeoff from the Winter Haven airport, just around the corner.

The pilot narrowly missed a playground, high voltage power lines, and the home -- which is detached from the garage.
Nobody was in the home on the property where the plane crashed, deputies said.

The Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane as a Republic RC3 Seabee amphibious sports aircraft.

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gretnabear said...

Crash site just beyond the shore line of Lake Rochelle ....

gretnabear said...

Crash site 1150 South Buena Vista Drive, Lake Alfred, FL is very, very close to home site at 585 Sellars Drive, Lake Alfred, FL, and just beyond the shore line of Lake Echo.