NC pilot and passenger killed in small plane crash

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ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The pilot and passenger aboard an airplane that went missing Friday have been found dead, according to a news release issued Saturday by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office has not released their names, but Ash-Rand Rescue authorities confirm they were both men and Randolph County residents.

One man was a licensed pilot and the other was training to be a pilot.

Authorities say they did not get a mayday call over the radio before the crash.

The wreckage of a single-engine four-seat, Piper PA-28 Cherokee was found off Cedar Rock Mountain Road.

The airplane took off from Knoxville Downtown Island Airport in Tennessee Friday.

Witnesses at the Asheboro Regional Airport saw the plane around 8:30 p.m. on Friday when the aircraft flew past the runway while on landing approach, the release says.

It continued past the tree line and out of sight. Radar had the plane near the Asheboro Bypass and Cannon Heights Drive.

Asheboro police responded to the airport at 10:08 p.m. then contacted the sheriff’s office to assume command of the search.

The FAA, North Carolina State Highway Patrol and Ash-Rand Rescue assisted in the Friday night search.

At 2:40 a.m. on Saturday, authorities discontinued the search due to “darkness of night and rain,” according to the news release.

The search resumed at 4:26 a.m. when Civil Air Patrol authorities received cellphone coordinates in woods near SW Randolph High School.

Overall, around 60 people helped in the search for the plane which was found 2.5 miles south of the Asheboro Regional Airport.

The plane was found in a densely wooded area about 1,500 feet from the cellphone ping that gave authorities the coordinates.

A fire official says the plane looks like it hit several trees during the descent and crash.

The FAA says they are still investigating to find the cause of the crash.

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