WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A plane crashed into a home off 21st Street NW on Saturday afternoon, according to authorities.

  • 64-year-old James Wagner killed in Saturday crash
  • No other serious injuries, Sheriff Judd said
  • Pilot and trainee were performing "simulated engine failure training"

James Wagner, 64, an instructor pilot from Lakeland, died in the crash, according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

Judd said a second man on the plane walked away from the crash with minor injuries. 

The sheriff said the two men on the plane were performing "simulated engine failure training" when the crash occurred just before 1 p.m. However, he said it's not sure the crash was a training accident or a plane malfunction.

A witness who said he was playing outside with his son described the sound of the crash as a "tin can crushing."

The UC1 Twin SeaBee amphibious plane took off from Winter Haven.

James Wagner (family photo)

A 17-year-old girl was in her bedroom when the plane crashed there. She was eventually taken to a hospital with what Judd called minor injuries. Two other people in the home, and three children playing in the driveway, were not hurt.

Judd called Wagner's death tragic, but used the words "miracle" and "blessing" that there were no more serious injuries.

"It's a blessing today that we didn't have an entire family wiped out," Judd said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is among the agencies investigating.

The crash happened four houses down from Garrett Koehlert's home.

"There were two people in the plane. One climbed out and told me the guy still in the plane didn't make it. Just by looking at him it was pretty obvious he was dead," he explained to Spectrum News. "I ran to help. Where you see the plane is (in) a bedroom. There was a woman in there when it crashed. She was trapped in the wall of the house and didn't look good when I left."