Authorities identify 3 of 4 people killed after 2 small planes collide in Central Florida

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Update: Polk County Sheriff’s Office has identified three of the four people killed after two small planes collided in Central Florida.


The victims are:

  • Faith Irene Baker, 24, of Winter Haven. Baker was a pilot and flight instructor with Sunrise Aviation.
  • Zachary Jean Mace, 19, of Winter Haven. Mace was a student at Polk State College.
  • Randall Elbert Crawford, 67, from Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Baker and Mace were in one of the planes, a Cherokee Piper 161, while Crawford was aboard the other plane, a Piper J-3 Club.

Deputies are working to confirm the identity of the fourth person killed who was inside the Piper J-3 Cub.

READ: 2 dead after 2 small planes collide in Central Florida

The four people killed were the only occupants of the planes, the sheriff’s office said.

In a prepared statement, Sheriff Grady Judd said:

“My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who were killed in today’s crash. The NTSB and FAA will be investigating the cause and circumstances of the collision. Please keep the families in your prayers during this difficult and stressful time.”

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See our previous coverage below:

Investigators say two people have died after two small planes collided Tuesday afternoon near a Central Florida lake.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the planes collided mid-air over Lake Hartridge in Winter Haven.


Deputies say first responders from multiple agencies arrived to find one of the planes fully submerged in the lake and the other partially submerged.

The sheriff’s office confirmed the planes were a sea plane registered to Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven and a fixed-wing plane operated by Sunrise Aviation out of Ormond Beach on behalf of Polk State College.

Multiple agencies are participating in an active search of the lake for any occupants of the planes.

Investigators confirmed Tuesday evening two bodies had been located in the search but they haven’t been identified pending notification of their families.

Both the FAA and NTSB have been called to investigate.

Channel 9 is monitoring the situation and is working to gather additional details.

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Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for updates.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.