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2 people hospitalized after seaplane crashes into Polk County orange grove

Deputies say the plane crashed nose-first.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Two people are in critical condition at the hospital after their seaplane crashed into an orange grove near Lake Smart.

Several people called 911 around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the area near lakes Conine and Smart upon seeing the crash, according to a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release.

Deputies say as the two-seater seaplane attempted to land on Lake Smart, one of the wings dipped into the water, which caused the plane to "catapult" upward at about 50 feet before crashing nose-first into the orange grove about 40 yards from the shoreline.

John "Jack" Hamilton, 77, of Elizabethton, Tennessee, was identified as the pilot with 22-year-old Landen MacFarland of Stuart, Florida, on board as his instructor. According to the sheriff's office, Hamilton was visiting the Orlando area from Tennessee and arrived at the Jack Brown Seaplane Base in Winter Haven. Hamilton reportedly requested to fly with an instructor for a refresher course.

The two men were taken to an area hospital for treatment of some serious injuries and remain in critical condition.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are tasked with investigating the crash.