Federal Aviation Administration

Pilot Survives Fiery Small Plane Crash in Lakeland

A pilot walked away from a small plane crash in Lakeland Monday afternoon with no major injuries.

Around 3:00 p.m. Monday, the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene of an airplane crash in the 3900 block of Pipkin Creek Road.

When first responders arrived on-scene they located the pilot, who was the sole occupant of the plane.

The pilot, who walked away from the crash with only minor injuries, is identified as 55-year-old Richard Simile, from Auburn, Alabama. The plane is a Mooney 4-passenger plane.

Simile told first responders that he was heading westbound when he lost power and crashed. He was able to get out of the plane on his own, then the plane caught fire.

The Lakeland Fire Department responded to extinguish the fire. The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.

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