Aurora resident injured in Florida plane crash

April 3, 2012 4:27:27 PM PDT
Aurora resident Kim Presbrey's single-engine plane crashed into a suburban Orlando supermarket, critically injuring him, another person on board, and three people inside the store.

The plane crashed into a Publix supermarket in DeLand, Florida, on Monday evening.

Presbrey, a managing partner of Presbrey and Associates in Aurora, is in critical condition at a Florida hospital with third-degree burns, according to his family.

The other person who was on the plane has not been indentified.

The amphibious Sea Wind 3000 plane encountered problems shortly after taking off from the DeLand Municipal Airport, less than two miles from the shopping center. Investigators weren't sure where the plane was heading.

The 911 calls were released Tuesday. Panicked customers dialed for help as they fled the store.

"Publix is on fire!" a woman from inside the supermarket said in a 911 call. "The store is on fire! OK. We got to go."

In addition to Presbrey and his passenger, three customers in the store were hurt. All of the injuries came from burns, said Luke Schiada, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane is made of composite material and was amateur-built in 2002. It seats four people but only two people were aboard, said Schiada.

Fire consumed most of the plane, which plunged through the roof and landed between two aisles in the middle of the store. The plane didn't have a black box but investigators may be able to use the plane's GPS system to learn more about what happened, Schiada said.

Bill Weir, a retired judge and attorney at Presbrey and Associates, has been in touch with the Presbrey family, who is at the Orlando hospital where he is hospitalized in intensive care.

"With each passing hour, we're growing more optimistic that he will survive this and hopefully return to the guy that this community knew him to be," he said. "He's able to move his legs he's able to move his hands ? he's heavily sedated but does show some cognitive abilities."

Though the cause of the crash is not yet known, from all accounts, Kim Presbrey is not just a prominent attorney but also an experienced pilot, who had taken his plane down to visit family in Florida in the past.

Federal investigators are on the scene examining the ruins of the single-engine plane.

DeLand is about 40 miles north of Orlando.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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