St. Petersburg Times
Two die in ultralight crash off Bradenton Beach
Compiled from Times wires
St. Petersburg Times
published June 3, 2003

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BRADENTON - Two Manatee County men were killed Monday when the ultralight airplane they were riding crashed into the Gulf of Mexico Monday morning.

The occupants either fell or jumped from about 100 feet up as an apparent mechanical problem caused the Polaris Motors aircraft to begin falling toward the water, about 100 yards off Bradenton Beach, about 11 a.m., said Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow.

Walter Danny Mora, 37, of Cortez, and Robert Duncan, 28, of Bradenton, apparently died almost instantly. Pulled from the water by boaters, they could not be revived.

A stabilizer bar on the aircraft was found broken, but authorities aren't sure if that happened before or in the crash, said Capt. Larry Leinhauser of the Manatee County Emergency Medical Service.

Mora ran a business giving rides in the two-seater plane, which was modified with an inflatable boat hull so it could take off and land on water, Leinhauser said. It was Duncan's birthday, "and apparently this was a birthday present from his wife," he said.