Crews recover plane which made crash landing at Lake Norman - | WBTV Charlotte

Crews recover plane which made crash landing at Lake Norman

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SHERRILLS FORD, NC (WBTV) - Crews were able to pull the the plane that crashed into Lake Norman out of the water on Wednesday night.

Around 7:30 p.m., ropes were attached to the plane and it was pulled to the surface of the water.  Once there, a crane was used to load the wreckage onto a barge.

Now that the plane has been transported to a hangar, investigators will try to determine what caused the single-engine plane to malfunction before the pilot made a crash landing late Tuesday evening.

According to Kathleen Bergen, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane took off from an airport in Greensboro and was attempting to land at Lake Norman Airpark when Okkerse experienced some type of engine trouble.

The investigation could take up to 18 months.

According to Iredell County emergency officials, the BEECH F33A Fixed Wing Single-Engine crashed into the lake near the town of Sherrills Ford around 7:20 p.m.

Steve Harwell is one of the nearby residents who called 911 after seeing the plane go down.

"A plane has crashed at Lake Norman at Rocky Creek," Harwell told the 911 operator.  "He's in the water.  My address is 843 Morrison Farm Road.  It's right at the point off of Morrison.  He's standing on the wing.  It's a small, single-engine.  It's sinking now.  It's red, white and blue.  He's in the water.  Several boats are around him."

Erica Canady spotted the plane in troubled and dialed 911. 

"We just saw a plane go down," she said.  "I think he's ok.  We are on Lake Norman, near the [Highway] 150 bridge." 

The pilot, Mark Okkerse, was able to escape from the plane and was not injured, according to Sgt. Kelly Stewart with the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

The plane is co-registered to Sean McGrath of Chicago and Vishnu Mathur.  The plane was to be sold, but now owners say it is a complete loss.

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