MADEIRA BEACH — Two men were killed Saturday morning when an ultralight aircraft crashed into the Boca Ciega Bay in Pinellas County, authorities said.
The victims were identified by the sheriff’s office as Mark Joseph Young, 26, of Dunedin and Robert E. McLarty, 44, of Lakeland. No working phones were listed for Young or McLarty.
Authorities said Young was the pilot and McLarty was his only passenger on the single-engine M-Squared Sprint 1000 owned by William Weisbrod of Stuart, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. A phone number listed for a William Weisbrod in Stuart was disconnected.
The bodies were recovered a short time after the crash near Madeira Beach, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
The plane was destroyed and left sitting in 6 feet of water, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. FAA investigators were at the scene to investigate. Bergen did not immediately know what caused the crash.
The sheriff’s office said witnesses reported hearing a “popping” noise and seeing the plane take a nose dive into the water. One witness jumped into the water and was able to cut free one victim.
3 killed when boats collide in northwest Fla.
FORT WALTON BEACH — Authorities say three people were killed in a boat collision in northwest Florida.
They were identified Saturday as George Brenner, Dorothy Brenner and Jeane Srowson — who was thrown from the boat into the water. The three were from Daphne, Ala.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says two boats crashed Friday evening in Choctawhatchee Bay near Fort Walton Beach. Early reports say the driver of the second boat, Augusta Kennedy of Destin, may have been impaired and took a blood sample to be tested.
Swimmer drowns near Jacksonville Beach pier
JACKSONVILLE — Police say a swimmer drowned near the Jacksonville Beach pier.
Police spokesman Sgt. Thomas Bingham says 27-year-old Willie Nix was with two friends Saturday when he was pulled out to sea by strong currents. The friends could not reach him and got out of the water for help.
Coast Guard boat and helicopter crews helped police from Jacksonville Beach and St. Johns County search for Nix. Bingham says the body was spotted floating near the pier and there was no evidence of foul play.
Cooking oil spill closes part of Broward Co. road
PLANTATION — Part of a major road in Broward County has been closed because of a large cooking oil spill.
Plantation officials say a truck carrying the oil leaked all the way down Pine Island Road from Sunrise to Davie and then onto Interstate 595 Saturday. One of Pine Island’s three southbound lanes was shut down while public works crews cleaned up the mess.
No accidents have been reported, but police Det. Rob Rettig says there’s enough oil that can cause a car to lose control on the road when someone tries to break. Police are investigating the spill.
2 bodies found floating in Lake Okeechobee
OKEECHOBEE — Authorities say two bodies were found floating in Lake Okeechobee.
The bodies were spotted Saturday morning. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino says there was a fishing tournament going on at the time. But it was not immediately clear if the two dead were participants.
Man stabs girlfriend’s father with pitchfork
ALLANTON — A Bay County man is accused of stabbing his girlfriend’s father with a pitchfork.
The sheriff’s office says 39-year-old Charles Duane Melvin is charged with aggravated battery after an argument escalated into a fight Thursday in the northwest Florida town of Allanton. They say he stabbed 68-year-old Jack Camp in the arm with a pitchfork.
Camp was not seriously injured. He told deputies that Melvin showed up drunk on his property where his daughter also lives and was asked to calm down or leave the property. That’s when the argument began and escalated into a fight, with punches thrown and eventually the pitchfork attack.
Melvin took off but was later arrested by deputies.
Fire rescue employee arrested for sale of gear
TAMPA — Police say a Tampa Fire Rescue employee tried to sell firefighter helmets and other gear online.
An arrest report says 30-year-old Wisman Figueroa II was arrested and charged Thursday with grand theft. He was released after posting $2,000 bail.
Police said in July he sold $11,000 worth of helmets, bunker pants, jackets, decals, badges and other gear on the Internet auction site eBay. Police also said he confessed to selling the items.
Man accused in 3 killings convicted of 1 murder
ORLANDO — The Orlando man police said gunned down three friends with an AK-47 at an apartment complex last year has been convicted of just one murder.
Jurors found 31-year-old Marcus Walker guilty Friday of one count of first-degree murder for the slaying of a 16-year-old who was unarmed the night of the killings. Walker was acquitted in the other two murders.
He’s expected to be sentenced Wednesday.
Walker’s attorney had argued that his client was defending himself. A detective on the case testified that he didn’t believe the shooting was on purpose.
Walker had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder.
Burglar beaten with own bat by home’s residents
LAKE WORTH — A man authorities say was beaten with his own bat by the tenants of a Lake Worth home he tried to rob is expected in court.
Bond hearing for 24-year-old Manuel Jesus Lacott was scheduled for Saturday.
The sheriff’s office report says two men used a screwdriver to get inside the home. But the suspects — armed with baseball bats — were confronted by seven men inside the home who took the bat away from Lacott and attacked him with the bat until deputies arrived. The second suspect got away.
Lacott is charged with home invasion armed robbery, one count of aggravated battery with a weapon, and seven counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
N. Miami hosts World Series of Stickball
NORTH MIAMI — The World Series of Stickball is in South Florida this weekend.
Fourteen teams from Florida, New York, California and Puerto Rico will take over North Miami’s Northeast Eighth Avenue, also known as Stickball Boulevard, to compete for the game’s top title.
The three days of competition began Saturday.
Stickball originated on the streets of New York. It’s known as the poor man’s baseball, and is played with a broom handle and a small rubber ball.
3 children removed from squalid Tampa-area home
LUTZ — Three children have been removed from a squalid suburban Tampa home.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says the children were all under the age of 10 and were found in a Lutz home with human feces flung on the floors, walls and ceiling.
The children’s 33-year-old caregiver, Adam Cluff, has been arrested and charged with child neglect.
Authorities wouldn’t say what Cluff’s relationship was to the children.
Investigators say the home was also infested with cockroaches and other bugs, and that hazardous materials including bleach and rusty wire cutters were within reach of the children.
Prosecutors call for release of man after 26 years
FORT LAUDERDALE — Broward County prosecutors say a man serving a life sentence for a 1983 rape and murder should be released, at least temporarily.
Forensic test results released this week eliminated 41-year-old Anthony Caravella of Miramar as the source of DNA found on the victim, 58-year-old Ada Cox Jankowski.
Caravella was 15 when he was arrested and has served nearly 26 years in prison.
Prosecutors say they’re not ready to try and vacate Caravella’s conviction altogether, but he should be released pending a review.
Hospital says laptop with patient data is lost
PENSACOLA — A Naval hospital in the Florida Panhandle says a laptop computer with personal information on 38,000 patients is missing.
Officials at Pensacola Naval Hospital say there’s no indication the computer has found its way into the wrong hands, but it contains a database of names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of patients who used the hospital’s pharmacy in the past year.
The database didn’t include medical records, but did have disability ratings.
The hospital is warning patients to check their financial records for signs of identity theft. The laptop went missing sometime after Aug. 18.
— Herald wire reports