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Hernando man dies in Polk County plane crash

BROOKSVILLE — The owner of a Brooksville campground was killed Thursday morning when the small plane he was in crashed as it was taking off from a Polk County airport.

James "Jim" Trefz, 45, the owner of Belle Parc campground on Ancient Trail, was killed in the crash of a single-engine plane that had just taken off around 9:30 a.m. from Winter Haven Airport.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office gave this report: Witnesses said the plane appeared to have lost power and was banking to the right, before crashing into a tree.

Two deputies went to the single-engine plane on the north side of U.S. 92 W, just east of Auburndale. The deputies used an automated external defibrillator on a man whose body was outside the plane. They performed CPR on Trefz until EMS personnel arrived, but without success.

The deputies extricated a man who was trapped in the plane's passenger seat. He was airlifted to a local hospital, where he is in critical condition. This victim has been identified but deputies are still trying to locate his next of kin.

One survivor of the crash, Trefz's white mixed terrier breed dog named Zulu, was found around 11 a.m. walking around near the scene of the crash. He will be returned to Trefz's family by a friend of the family who was also on the scene.

The NTSB and FAA will investigate the plane crash. They are en route to the scene.

Hernando man dies in Polk County plane crash 02/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:55pm]

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