05/09/08 — Two die in plane crash Thursday near Shine

View Archive

Two die in plane crash Thursday near Shine

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on May 9, 2008 2:14 PM

SNOW HILL -- An experimental aircraft's pilot reported icing on his wings before disappearing from radar and crashing in a field near Snow Hill on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Two people were confirmed dead after the crash sometime after 1 p.m., but their identities had not been released early today.

The Lancair IV-P homebuilt aircraft's fuselage was badly burned, cordoned off with yellow tape by law enforcement trucks and SUVs in a cornfield owned by Kenneth Smith of Triple S Farms.

News-Argus Video Report

Shine Fire Chief Jeremy Anderson said that a piece of the wing was being collected about a mile from the accident site on Thursday afternoon.

National Transportation Safety Board public affairs officer Keith Holloway said his organization was conducting a "limited" investigation.

That means the Federal Aviation Administration will be the only agency to actually visit the site, but will work with NTSB on the investigation, Holloway said.

Holloway said that the plane was headed from Ft. Myers, Fla., to Hartford-Brainard Airport in Hartford, Conn.

He described what FAA investigators will do on scene.

"They're pulling radar information for us. They're going to look at weather, they're going to document the scene," Holloway said.

Other actions will include pulling the pilot's history, looking at log books, mechanical records and medical records, Holloway said.

State Department of Crime Control and Public Safety spokeswoman Patty McQuillan said the pilot's first report was of "icing" on the wings.

"Right after the pilot reported icing on the wings, he disappeared," Ms. McQuillan said.

The Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer division overseen by Crime Control and Public Safety, came in to "do reconnaissance and to find the plane," after it disappeared from radar, Ms. McQuillan said.

FAA spokeswoman Kath-leen Bergen said she was unable to determine the status of the plane's registration.

"When I looked up the number, the status was in question," Ms. Bergen said.

The FAA's registration search tool returns this message when the aircraft's number was entered in the system:

"Attention! This aircraft's registration may not be suitable for operation."

Roland Herwig, an FAA aviation registrations specialist based in Oklahoma City, was checking into the status.

Herwig could not retrieve that information by press time today.

Greene County Emergency Services Director Randy Skinner was not available for comment on Friday morning.

Shine Fire Chief Anderson said that it appeared fuel was the reason the plane burned as badly as it did.

"It was probably, like I said, a fuel-fed fire," Anderson said. "The fire started after the plane hit the ground."