Small plane crashes into a Publix Grocery Store in Deland, Florida

[Updated Apr-3-2012: 2:10pm]

Sanford, Fla. -

Just after 7:30 pm tonight a small plane crashed into a popular Publix grocery store on East International Speedway Blvd. in Deland, Florida.

The plane had just taken off from nearby Deland Airport when it suddenly lost power. The pilot and a passenger climbed from the wreckage with their clothes on fire.

The pilot has been identified as Thomas Rhoades and the passenger is Kim Presbrey.

The pilot and passenger who suffered burns were air lifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Both Rhoades and Presbrey remain in critical condition. Witnesses report seeing the plane and heard it sputter just before crashing into the roof of the Publix then erupt into flames.

The National Transportation Safety Board has already started its investigation as to what could have caused the small single engine experimental plane to crash into the meat department of the Publix which had about 100 customers inside at the time.


In addition to the pilot and one passenger that suffered life threatening injuries, three shoppers were also hurt from the crash, Brendan Bietler suffered burns to his legs and was taken to ORMC; and Lisa Cordova and April Morris were taken to Florida Hospital DeLand and have since been released.

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