Pilot identified in fatal Granite Quarry plane crash
Update: Authorities have identified the pilot as 49-year-old Cecil Dwayne Brown, of West Second Street, in Faith. An autopsy will be performed by the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill. Federal investigators are expected to be on the scene Monday morning.
By Nathan Hardin
GRANITE QUARRY - A small experimental plane crashed near Old Stone House Road Sunday night, killing one man.
Authorities said an Ultralight aircraft went down in a field close to Shaw's Mobile Home Park just before 6 p.m.
Frank Thomason, chief of emergency services in Rowan County, said the pilot was the only person on board.
Authorities did not release information about the pilot Sunday night, citing pending notification of the family.
Investigators said the next of kin was out of town Sunday night.
Some neighbors in the area said they saw the plane go down into a field after it appeared to have engine problems.
Danny Gilmore, a resident in the area, said he saw it hit the ground near his home.
"I saw it go over and then it just went down when the motor cut off," he said. "It's a very sad thing."
Other neighbors said the plane appeared to stall out shortly before impact.
Thomason said the plane departed from Rowan County Airport shortly before the crash Sunday evening.
The pilot was believed to have been heading to a location near High Rock Lake, Thomason said.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were also notified.
FAA and NTSB investigators are expected to arrive at the scene Monday morning, Thomason said.
Crews quickly wrapped the scene in yellow caution tape and neighbors stood on their porches or near the crash site Sunday evening.
Rowan investigators and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol assisted in the preliminary investigation.
Crews initially secured the scene for fires or leaking fluid.
"The plane is pretty much intact," Thomason said.
Authorities removed the body less than two hours after the crash.
Emergency personnel from about 10 fire, police and EMS departments assisted Sunday night.
Power lines were also down near the crash site and many neighbors said they knew something happened when their power went out.
A neighbor, who identified herself as Rita, said she knew something was wrong when her children playing outside came running in.
"We heard a loud bang, twice," she said. "The power went off, but we didn't see it."Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.
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