Dog Survives Small Florida Plane Crash That Kills Owner

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A stricken plane was unable to make a safe landing on a Polk County, Fla., highway Thursday morning, reported.

One person died in the crash and another was badly injured.

According to investigators, the single-engine Beechcraft Sundowner was headed west after taking off from Winter Haven's Gilbert Airport when it apparently lost power. The pilot apparently tried to land on the road but hit a tree and wound up in a ditch near the intersection of U.S. 92 and Pickney Drive.

"The wings were actually teeter-tottering back and forth. And he was flying so low. There's no airspace over here, so I knew he was in trouble," witness Juan Jackson recalled. "Once he tried to get it back up and in control, he wound up hitting the trees."

The crash threw the pilot — later identified as James Trefz of Brooksville — from the plane. The first deputies on the scene performed CPR, but they were unable to revive him.

"He was in rough shape. He wasn't responding to any commands. We couldn't get a pulse on him," Deputy Stephen Tidwell offered.

Passenger George Azize survived the crash, but was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in critical condition.

Another survivor of the crash was Trefz's dog, a white mixed terrier breed named Zulu. He was found wandering near the wreckage and authorities expected a family friend to return him to the family.

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