LAKE PLACID, Fla. (AP) - A University of Kentucky professor and
a pilot were killed in a small plane crash in central Florida,
The single-engine Piper Cub airplane crashed Friday shortly after noon near Placid Lakes Airport, authorities said.
Citrus grove owner Mason Smoak was the pilot, and David Maehr, a
University of Kentucky associate professor of conservation biology,
was the only passenger, officials said.
"The plane came out of the sky and went straight into the earth," Capt. Paul Blackman of the Highlands County Sheriff's Office said witnesses told him. "It apparently stalled, did a 360 and went straight down."
Smoak and Maehr were conducting aerial surveys of Highlands County black bears when they crashed, according to the Archibold Biological Station in Lake Placid, where Maehr was a visiting scientist while on sabbatical from the university.
Maehr had helped reintroduce elk to eastern Kentucky, and his research supported efforts to sustain black bear populations in
Appalachia and the endangered panther in Florida, according to a
statement issued Saturday by M. Scott Smith, dean of the University
of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)