04/06/10 — Missing Mount Olive man found

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Missing Mount Olive man found

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 6, 2010 10:04 AM

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Jimmy Kornegay

A former Mount Olive councilman reported missing on Monday morning was found conscious, but unable to move on his own, off a trail on land near Smith Chapel Road, Police Chief Ralph Schroeder said.

After hours of searching using a Highway Patrol helicopter and a private plane from Pikeville-based Wayne Aviation, Jimmy Kornegay, 68, was discovered just before 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

A statewide "Silver Alert" had been issued for Kornegay, who suffers from Type II diabetes and had been without medication. He had been missing since about 9 a.m. on Monday, police said.

The former councilman was being transported to Wayne Memorial Hospital late on Tuesday morning to be treated, authorities said.

After he was found, Kornegay told police he was in the area to check out a fishing pond, the police chief said.

The rescue effort began when Mount Olive Fire Chief Steve Martin spotted Kornegay's truck from a plane piloted by Bill Walizer of Wayne Aviation, Schroeder said.

"The fire chief happened to see the truck down by the wood line," Schroeder said. "Once (Fire Chief) Steve (Martin) contacted us, we in turn went to the airport and picked Steve up so he could show us exactly where it (the truck) was at."

The police chief, who was accompanied by Maj. Brian Rhodes and Detective Sgt. C.J. Weaver, said the sound of the plane passing overhead alerted Kornegay that someone was trying to rescue him.

"Whenever he heard the airplane when it went over, and (saw) it circle about three times, he heard us coming down the path," the chief said.

Summoning all his strength, Kornegay, who suffers from additional serious health issues, made an effort to allow police to find him.

"He raised himself up, and that's when (we) saw him," the chief said.

Kornegay was about 400 yards from where his truck was parked, near Glencare Assisted Living on Smith Chapel Road.

Schroeder said he wanted to thank all of the agencies who assisted, including the Wayne and Duplin county sheriff's offices, the N.C. Highway Patrol.

"Without their assistance, this may not have had such a happy ending," the police chief said.