By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
An experimental aircraft crashed through the roof of a Publix grocery store in DeLand, Fla., about 7:20 p.m. on Monday, critically injuring both men in the airplane and sending three people in the store to the hospital. The airplane was an amphibious Seawind 3000, built in 2000, according to the FAA database. The crash sent a ball of fire through the store, according to local news reports, and the aircraft was completely destroyed. Three people in the store were hurt; one was hospitalized for burns on his legs, and the other two were treated and released. The aircraft had just taken off from the nearby DeLand Municipal Airport.
"It was horrific," witness Randy Felix told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. "When I turned around, I saw the ceiling caving in. Once the tiles were down, there was just pure fire and then the fire was propelled towards the doors almost to the cash registers." Felix said he saw a young man running toward him with his legs burned. A witness from outside the store told ABC News the airplane seemed to attempt a turn back to the airport shortly after takeoff, then "it dropped straight out of the sky." DeLand is about 40 miles north of Orlando, in central Florida.