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Man, woman identified as fatal victims in Lantana airport plane crash

Single-engine Cessna 172 in instructional flight at Palm Beach County Park Airport
The wreckage of a small plane crash at Palm Beach County Park Airport near Lantana on May 26, 2023.jpg
Posted at 12:35 PM, May 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-28 23:54:54-04

LANTANA, Fla. — The two people killed in a small plane crashed Friday at Palm Beach County Park Airport in Lantana have been identified, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said Sunday.

They were identified as Ana Diego Matias, 20, of Lantana, and Stanley Sands, 76, of Lake Worth Beach.

The crash of the single-engine Cessna 172 occurred during an instructional flight, Peter C. Knudson with the National Transportation Board media relations told WPTV.

Sands was listed as a pilot instructor for Airmax Aviation on its website. Matias was listed as a student pilot on a GoFundMe page set up by her aunt, writing: "She would always talk about being a pilot since she was a little girl."

Sands' LinkedIn page listed him as a former corporate jet pilot at Delaware North, a global food service and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., from 1994-2010. Previously from 1983-1992, he was manager of Jamestown Flying Service at an airport in North Dakota.

Since 2011, he was listed in internet marketing for Parrot Toys.

The Federal Aviation Administration database lists Sands as an airline transport pilot, flight instructor, ground instructor and flight engineer.

Several aviation schools operate out of the airport.

An NTSB investigator arrived in the area Friday night, began site work Saturday morning and will be finishing up the on-scene phase of the investigation Monday. A preliminary report will be available in 2-3 weeks and the entire investigation is expected to be completed in 12-24 months, Knudson said.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrived at the crash site just before 11:30 a.m. and found two people dead inside the aircraft.

Aerial video from WPTV Chopper 5 showed the plane cut in half and badly smashed up in a grassy area next to a runway, not far from the Lake Osborne campground.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue has not confirmed any additional information, only saying the agency responded to an incident involving a small plane.

Two men were killed in March when a single-engine plane crashed in a field at Palm Beach County Park Airport.

The sheriff's office said John Holland IV, 43, of Delray Beach, and Michael Marshall Jr., 34, of Boca Raton, died when a Diamond DA40 went down just before 9:30 p.m. March 5 in a field about 1,000 feet from a runway.

Palm Beach County Mayor Gregg Weiss told WPTV's Tania Rogers that a safety assessment had already been requested for the Lantana airport before Friday's crash.