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Deputies identify pilot in Sunday's plane crash in Bartow

A small plane crashed Sunday into a car in a church parking lot in Bartow, just south of Lakeland.
A small plane crashed Sunday into a car in a church parking lot in Bartow, just south of Lakeland.
Published Jun. 13, 2017

BARTOW — Polk County deputies have identified the pilot involved in Sunday's plane crash as Robert Silva, 61, of Jensen Beach.

Silva was taken to the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center with serious injuries, underwent surgery and is now in stable condition, according to deputies.

The plane went down about noon outside Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Bartow, about 12 miles southeast of Lakeland, fire officials said. Photos of the scene show the aircraft on top of an overturned white SUV.

The church pastor told firefighters he and his congregation were in the middle of a church service when they heard a loud bang. Someone went outside to check it out and saw the plane.

Two nurses who are members of the church, Priscilla Sykes and Queen Morris, rushed out to help the pilot until paramedics arrived to provide emergency medical care.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash.