PHOTOS: Twin-Engine Cessna 340 Plane Crash Near Ben Durrance Rd, Unincorporated Bartow, Florida

Polk County Fire Rescue firefighters and Polk County Sheriff’s (PSCO) deputies responded about 7:15 a.m. Sunday December 24 2017, when a twin-engine Cessna private aircraft crashed at the Bartow Airbase. The pilot pulled out of the hangar about 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

Preliminary information is that the plane took off around 7:15 a.m. heading east. For unknown reasons, the twin-engine Cessna 340 crashed shortly after takeoff. Foggy conditions were reported at the time of the crash.

The plane’s flight roster listed four people aboard the aircraft, and four bodies were confirmed dead in the wreckage, according to Tina Mann, a spokeswoman for Polk County Fire and Rescue. The flight plans listed Key West, Florida as a destination. The aircraft fire destroyed the marking of the aircrafts registration number.

The crash occurred near the PCSO Aviation Unit hangar, which is on Ben Durrance Road (cross street Bomber Road) in unincorporated Bartow. The Polk County Mosquito Control Office is also nearby.

There was a fire after the plane crashed, which was put out by Polk County Fire Rescue personnel. Everyone on board perished. We have not yet positively identified the victims, nor notified next of kin. We do not yet have an accurate number of how many victims there are.

PCSO is conducting the death investigation. We will release information related to the deaths and the victims’ identities when we can, which likely will not be for several hours.

The NTSB is en-route to investigate the cause of the plane crash, and will be answering all inquiries related to the crash.

This is a horrific tragedy, especially on Christmas Eve, and the victims and their families are in our prayers.

— Polk County Sheriff’s Office

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