University Of Kentucky Professor Killed In Fla. Plane Crash

LAKE PLACID, Fla. (AP) - A University of Kentucky professor and a pilot were killed in a small plane crash in central Florida, officials said.

The single-engine Piper Cub airplane crashed Friday shortly after noon near Placid Lakes Airport, authorities said.

Officials 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.

Capt. Paul Blackman of the Highlands County Sheriff's Office said witnesses told him the plane 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.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-06-21-08 1444EDT

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