911 calls describe the moment a plane crashed into a Hope Mills home, killing 2

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — CBS 17 has obtained multiple 911 calls, describing what people saw and heard as a plane crashed into a Hope Mills home Thursday night. 

Callers told dispatchers the 40-year-old Beech E-55 plane was near Fayetteville Regional Airport. 

“Me and my son were standing out here, and we heard the thing hit the ground,” one caller said. 

The crash killed two people, including the pilot, and injured another. One caller reported hearing something near U.S. 301. 

“I heard the motor stalling,” the caller said. “I thought it was a motorcycle, but it wasn’t.” 

The plane is registered to Industrial Power Inc. out of Fayetteville. According to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office, William Merritt is the company’s president. According to public records, Merritt is a registered pilot. 

Robert Gertz with the National Transportation Safety Board said the pilot, who neighbors say was Bill Merritt, was doing takeoffs and landings. He said the pilot reported a control problem shortly before the wreck.

911 callers others described what they heard as the plane went down.

“Normally, you can hear planes flying around, but this one here, it just came out of nowhere,” one caller said. “It was loud, and then there was a crack.” 

One woman told a dispatcher she was driving around trying to find the plane. 

“It was having trouble,” she said. “We could hear the engine was struggling, and then it nose-dived.”

According to FlightAware, the plane most recently went from Winston-Salem to Fayetteville on Monday without any issues. 

Robert Gertz with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said their preliminary report on the wreck will be available after about 10 business days. The full report takes about a year.

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