Five die as plane crashes into lake

PAHOKEE — Five people died Friday, March 8, when a plane crashed into Lake Okeechobee near Pahokee, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane crash victims have been identified as: Eduardo Mulet, 45, of West Palm Beach; Eric Peterson, 73, Lighthouse Point; Matthew Fiorello, 36, of Palm Beach Gardens; Heather Bridwell, 43, of Jupiter; and, Edwin Mortell, 54, of Stuart.

Mr. Peterson, Ms. Bridwell, Mr. Fiorello and Mr. Mortell III were attorneys with a Florida law firm. Mr. Mulet was the pilot.

The twin-engine Piper aircraft went down in Lake Okeechobee while on approach to Pahokee Airport at approximately 3:30 p.m. Friday, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration. The flight reportedly departed from Sheltair Flight Service at the Tampa International Airport. The plane reportedly experienced engine problems and the pilot tried to land at the Pahokee airport.

PBSO received information that a small airplane went down just north of Pahokee airport, about 400 yards from shore, Friday afternoon. According to the PBSO, a witness originally reported that one individual was observed swimming away from the airplane.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit Deputies and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue personnel recovered five individuals from the aircraft fuselage. All individuals were deceased.

The death investigation will be handled by PBSO Violent Crimes Division. The airplane crash will be investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.

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