Deputies identify pilot, passengers killed in plane crash into Lake Harney

Fisherman witnessed crash, sheriff's officials say

LAKE HARNEY, Fla. – An airplane carrying up to three people crashed into Lake Harney on Friday near the Seminole-Volusia county line, officials said.

A fisherman reported the crash in the southeast side of the lake near Lake Harney Woods Boulevard and Morgan Alderman Road.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a Connection900 BE-9L aircraft coming from L3 Airline Academy was approaching the Orlando Sanford International Airport when it crashed.

Seminole County deputies said the plane was reportedly flying low before it crashed into the water.

Divers were searching for the aircraft and possible survivors all afternoon.

Just before 7 p.m., Seminole County deputies said the three people aboard the aircraft at the time of the crash died.

The pilot was identified as Kamalesh Naik, 56, of Sanford, and the passengers were identified as Men Tao, 22, and Hou Xupeng, 23, both of China, but had been living in Sanford, deputies said.

Authorities said the crash site would remain secured overnight Friday while crews continued their search efforts. Residents were asked to avoid the area throughout the weekend.

Officials said the recovery efforts could take anywhere from five to seven days. 

Kenneth Miller was working in his nearby yard when he said he heard the roar of the plane's engine.

"It was a loud explosion and then I heard nothing," Miller said.

The FAA will investigate the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the cause of the crash.

No other details have been released.

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