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Student pilot walks away from plane crash that killed instructor

The flight instructor was killed in the crash but the student pilot was able to walk away.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — One person was killed when a plane crashed into a home Saturday on Idylridge Drive.

The instructor on the plane, 64-year-old James Wagner, died in the crash.

"He was just the best man I'd ever met," said Wagner's son-in-law, Luis Nuñez.

Nuñez said Wagner was an Air Force veteran who'd been flying since he was 16. At one time, he even flew for singer Jimmy Buffett.

Despite Wagner's death, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd called Saturday "a day of miracles."

Judd said the plane landed in a bedroom of the home and pinned down a 17-year-old girl. Rescue crews were able to free the teen, and she was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

A student pilot onboard, Timothy Sheehy, walked away from the crash, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. 

"The fact that the trainee survived and everybody in the house survived, [Wagner] wouldn't have wanted it any other way," Nuñez said. "He would've given his life for them in a heartbeat. 

"He was just that kind of person."

10News learned Wagner had an instructional license, but it expired at the end of 2018, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's website.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, and an FAA spokesperson said that will be part of their investigation.

The crash happened around 1 p.m. in the area of 21st Street NW, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Aviation Administration. Winter Haven Regional Airport is located just north of the neighborhood.

The pair was set to do simulated engine failure training, Judd said.

The plane was a UC-1 Twin SeaBee, according to Polk County officials. 

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