RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A husband and his wife are dead after a plane crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport Sunday night
After multiple agencies had to stop searching because of darkness, crews were able to locate the single-engine Piper off of the Reedy Creek Trail in the Umstead State Park on Monday.
The park is still closed, and as investigators try to piece together what happened those who live in the area tell CBS17 they were surprised to find out a plane crashed because they didn’t hear or see anything.
“We thought somebody had been hiking in the park and had an accident,” said Tamara Dunn.
After a decade of living on the doorstep of the Umstead State Park, Dunn says it’s all too common to see first responders headed into the forest, but something about Sunday night seemed different.
“First, the police department went by, and then the fire department went by,” said Dunn. “We walked down to check on our neighbor and make sure everything was OK down there. That’s when we found out a plane had gone down inside the park.”
As crews searched into the night for the wreckage Dunn did the only thing she could to try and help.
“We ended up leaving the porch light on just in case someone came wandering out and saw the light,” said Dunn.
Nearly 15 hours after the plane crashed into the 5600-acre state park it was discovered along a popular hiking trail.
“It was a rugged area,” said Raleigh Assistant Fire Chief Kendall Hocutt. “There was a lot of debris, and trees. It was difficult to locate which caused us some issues.”
The pilot, 72-year-old Harvey Partridge, and his wife Patricia passed away in the crash.
“I think the airport does a really great job with their safety,” said Dunn. “I think that sometimes tragedies happen for whatever reason. Until they have more information it’s going to be hard to say.”
The NTSB has investigators on the scene of the crash.
CBS17 is told the NTSB will be looking into the flight path, the weather conditions, and the pilot’s history.
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