Man, 76, dies when new plane crashes at Polk County airstrip

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A 76-year-old man died Tuesday morning when a brand-new plane crashed after stalling in Polk County, Sheriff Grady Judd said.


The crash happened shortly after 10:30 a.m. at the South Lakeland Airstrip on Southwind Drive near Mulberry.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crash involved a single-engine Merlin Lite airplane.

The pilot, Arthur Canning, had 10 years of experience flying. He was the only person aboard the plane.

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Witnesses told investigators they heard the plane’s engine sputter seconds before the plane stalled and crashed into the ground nose first.

Judd said the pilot died of “horrific, traumatic injuries.”

The pilot has not been identified.

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The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board have been called to investigate the crash.

The NTSB will be the agency in charge of the investigation.

See Judd’s full news conference below:

See a map of the scene below:

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