The five people killed in a small plane crash in Lake Okeechobee included the pilot and four attorneys with the Peterson Bernard law firm in Palm Beach County, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
They were identified Saturday as commercial pilot Eduardo Mulet, 45, of West Palm Beach; Eric A. Peterson, 73, of Lighthouse Point; Matthew Fiorello, 36, of Palm Beach Gardens; Heather Bridwell, 43, of Jupiter; and Edwin Mortell III, 54, of Stuart.
The twin-engine Piper aircraft, a PA-23 commonly known as an Aztec, crashed into the lake about 3:26 p.m. Friday, some 400 yards from shore a little north of Pahokee Airport, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue divers found the five bodies when they searched the aircraft fuselage in the water, she said.
The plane had taken off from Tampa International Airport and went down as it approached the Pahokee airport, according to the FAA. Officials in Tampa said the flight was a charter had departed from Sheltair Aviation Services.
The National Transportation Safety Board will conduct the crash investigation and the sheriff’s violent crimes division will handle the death investigation.
According to the Peterson Bernard website:
— Eric A. Peterson was a founding member of the law firm in 1981, with degrees from Ohio University and State University of New York at Buffalo. Several of his cases were featured on national television news programs including 20-20, Inside Edition and on Direct Television.
— Matthew Fiorello was born and raised in South Florida, with degrees from Clemson University and Nova Southeastern University. Prior to joining the firm, Fiorello spent three years as an Assistant Public Defender in Broward County where he handled cases ranging from misdemeanor to first-degree felonies.
— Heather Bridwell practiced law since 2000 and had degrees from Florida State University, in Communications, and Florida State University College of Law.
— Edwin Mortell III was the manager of the law firm’s Stuart office and had degrees in Economics at Southern Methodist University, and law at Nova Southeastern University.
All four handled a wide range of award winning legal services to insurers, third party administrators, businesses, governments and individuals around the state of Florida from their offices in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Stuart.