2 killed in zombie movie plane crash ID'd

Officials investigate fatal crash at Summerfield airpark


SUMMERFIELD, Fla. – Two people were killed Sunday night when their small plane crashed as they filmed a zombie movie in Central Florida, officials said.

Belleview Public Works Director Dennis Monroe, 65, and passenger Joseph Sardinas, 70, died in the crash, which occurred around 7:30 p.m. at Monroe Airpark at Southeast 140th Street in Summerfield.

Officials said the plane was a small, two-seat, single-engine aircraft that was being used in a low-budget zombie movie that was filming in the area.

Marion County deputies said Sardinas, of Lady Lake, was the cinematographer for the film.

Witnesses said after a banking turn over the film site, the engine stalled and the plane went down nose-first.

Sardinas' brother tells Local 6 that the aerial shot was one of the last scenes they needed to film.

"I was like, 'Oh, my gosh. It crashed. It crashed. The plane crashed,'" said Janet Crandall, who witnessed the crash from her back yard. "The plane was flying real low. All of the sudden, you didn't hear the motor anymore and the plane just fell."

Commissioner Gary Ernst said he was impressed by Monroe's knowledge as a pilot, flying with him on several different planes.

"Myself and other commissioners have flown with him before, especially for the Christmas parade," Earnst said. "He was an airplane fanatic."

FAA officials said the plane was a Van's RV-7 amateur aircraft, which is sold in kits for people to build themselves.

The National Transportation Safety Board said at a news conference on Monday that they have documented the wreckage of the plan and are reviewing video footage.

They also said they were review the digital data recorder from the plane, but it may take 9-12 months before they know the cause of the crash.

The "amateur built plane" had no black box recorder on it, NTSB said.

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