1 dead after plane crashes in NC mountains

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SYLVA, N.C. (WSPA) — One person was killed in a plane crash Friday in Jackson County.

Search teams found the wreckage of the plane at about 12:45 p.m. in a rugged area of southern Jackson County, south of Whiteside Mountain. 

Gary Huttleston was piloting the single-engine plane, officials said. Huttleston’s family arrived on the scene just before 3:30 p.m. 

Earlier, crews were searching the western North Carolina mountains for the missing plane.

Macon County Emergency Management said in a news release that crews from Macon and Jackson counties were trying to locate the overdue plane. Its last known location was the Whiteside Mountain area around 6:15 p.m. Thursday. 

The single-engine plane was headed to Aiken, South Carolina from Knoxville, Tennessee but failed to reach its destination, according to Macon County Emergency Management. 

Teams started searching around 1 a.m. Friday but had to call off the search until daylight. Searchers were limited by the remote, rugged terrain and weather conditions. 

Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad said in a news release that local, state, and federal agencies were assisting in the full-scale search operation. 

Nat Turner, public information officer with the rescue squad, said crews were searching southwest of Cashiers. 

Jackson County dispatch was notified around 6:30 p.m. Thursday by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) “that a plane was in distress in southern Jackson County. Further information from the AFRCC and the FAA indicated that the plane was last seen on radar at 6:14 pm EST and that the plane was a single engine private aircraft,” according to a release issued by the rescue squad.

Crews will continue to investigate the cause of the crash. 

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