Plane crashes in Rowan Co. woods, pilot killed - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Plane crashes in Rowan Co. woods, pilot killed

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GOLD HILL, NC (WBTV) -

Rowan County emergency officials say a pilot has died after a plane crashed into the woods near a small airport.

Rowan County Emergency Services Director Fred Thomson says a driver saw a plane flying low in a wooded area near Old Beatty Ford around 4:15 Monday morning. 

 "The first responders to the scene did not find anything and geared up and did a more extensive search, because the crash site is a quarter to a half mile off road into a very heavily wooded area, "he said." It's very tough terrain. Vehicles could not get back there."

Moments later, the witness saw black smoke coming from the woods.

Rescue crews arrived a short time later and found the plane on fire. We are told when the flames were put out, the plane was so disintegrated, firefighters were unable to identify the numbers on the side of it. The pilot's body was found a short time later.

That person has not been identified, but officials say he lived nearby. No one else was on board, WBTV has learned.

The plane was a single engine Trinidad.

This happened just a short distance from Gold Hill Airport. Officials believe the plane took off from the airport around 4 o'clock Monday morning.

The area known as Gold Hill is popular tourist spot in Rowan County, but the air park that bears its name prides itself on privacy.

Aircraft hangers are attached to homes, and there is an active landing strip in this aviation community.

Among the factors being considered in the investigation are weather conditions, any mechanical problems with the aircraft, and the probe will also look at pilot error.

"It was relatively clear until about day break, and then there was some fog that came after daybreak that was after the crash occurred," Thomson said.

Those who are part of the investigation say the pilot lived in this neighborhood, and had filed an earlier flight plan. The aircraft was headed to Lancaster, PA.

Investigators Federal Aviation Administration spent most of the day at the crash scene, and on Tuesday staffers from the National Transportation Safety Board will visit the site.

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