Plane crashes in High Rock Lake

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Two people are assumed dead after an airplane crashed into High Rock Lake today shortly after taking off from the Davidson County Airport.
The body of a woman has been recovered. Divers were in the water searching for the body of a man who was on the plane, but a heavy fog rolled in late this afternoon and forced authorities to delay recovery efforts until 9 a.m. Saturday.
“Out in the main channel, it’s zero visibility,” said Coyt Karriker, chief of the Rowan Rescue Squad. “It’s not safe to have boats or divers out there.”
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will join local officials on Saturday.
Bob Carrothers, a line technician at the airport, said a single-engine Cessna 350 departed the airport about 1:15 p.m. It had originated in  Commerce Township, Mich. and stayed overnight in Davidson, where its pilot was conducting business, before leaving for Florida today, he said.
Federal Aviation Administration officials confirmed that was the airplane that crashed into High Rock Lake.
The airplane’s pilot was not required to file a flight plan because he was flying under visual flight rules and not by instrument, he said. A light rain was falling, but “the weather was not extraordinarily bad, at least at the Davidson County Airport,” he said.
Carrothers said the pilot “gave a normal call when they left and indicated they were departing the Davidson County Airport.” And that’s the last the airport heard from the craft, which was communicating on a frequency monitored by the airport.
“There was no call on this frequency,” Carrothers said. “There wasn’t any distress call at all.”
Authorities identified the plane by its tail numbers.
Residents and fishermen reported hearing a loud noise, and one person reported he saw a plane go into the lake not far from Tamarac Marina.
Charles Scott was in his yard off Sportsman Drive when he saw spray from the crash.”
“I was just raking my yard. It sounded like he was pulling out of a stall. The next thing I heard was, wham!” he said. “I never did see a plane, but I saw the spray.”
Frank Thomason, director of Rowan County Emergency Services, said the airplane broke apart when it hit the water.
Emergency responders in a helicopter and arriving by boat found a large amount of debris, including part of a wing, near an island in the main channel. They saw fuel on the water and picked up a signal from an emergency locator transmitter, a distress beacon used in an aircraft.
Three investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration have responded to the crash site.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross provided support for 150 first responders working at the accident site.

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