MAITLAND, Fla. - A single-engine plane and two bodies were found in Lake Maitland Wednesday afternoon after a report of a crash led to an extensive search, authorities said.
The call about an aircraft crashing in the water came in around 11:15 a.m., according to Maitland Police Department Public Information Officer Louis Grindle.
Orange County Fire Rescue's dive team, Maitland Fire Rescue and other first responders had searched the lake for more than an hour without finding anything when efforts were temporarily halted due to storms and lightning in the area.
The search resumed less than an hour later, which is when Grindle said divers found the plane and a body about 15 feet deep. The second person was found at about 5 p.m.
The two occupants were identified as Stanley Rampey, 67, and Raymond Dodd, 79, from Seneca, South Carolina.
The crash is under investigation, but authorities said fuel might have been an issue.
"We did receive information that the pilot did state that they were having fuel problems with the plane, but (we have) no other information other than that," Grindle said.
Witnesses said they saw the plane spiraling down into Lake Maitland.
"Before you could even process what happened, the plane was under the water and so was the pilot," Fisher Omans said. "He kind of dusted these trees up here and as the plane hit the water, he somersaulted once or twice."
People nearby tried to help.
"We saw the pilot come bop his head up for a second. It was minimal, but (by) the time the man in the other boat jumped in the boat to try to grab him, he was already sunk down; he was unconscious," Omans said.
Information from FlightAware.com shows the single-engine Cessna departed from Oconee County Regional Airport in South Carolina at 6:26 a.m. and landed at Orlando Executive Airport at 9:33 a.m.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was en route to Massey Ranch Airpark in New Smyrna Beach.
The National Transportation Safety Board will oversee the investigation going forward.
The plane was pulled from the water around 9 p.m. Wednesday.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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