Pilot in deadly plane crash identified

Reported by Casey Roman - email
Posted by Kristy Ondo - email

DUPLIN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Earlier this week a pilot was killed when his experimental plane crashed in Duplin County.

According to the State Highway Patrol, 63-year-old Kenneth R. Hetzel of Yorkville, IL was flying the plane when it went down.

Two days after the accident, a wrecker is trying to remove the plane.

The plane left Wilmington Monday afternoon and a short time later crashed behind a trailer park off Highway 903 near Magnolia. Witnesses reported it appeared to have taken a nose dive into the ground.

The plane crashed into a wooded area, barely missing the nearby mobile home park.

Magnolia Mayor Gwendolyn Vann said she is very grateful that no one on the ground was hurt.

Neighbors reported hearing a loud noise that sounded like an explosion, but investigators said the plane did not explode.  It did appear to make a nose dive directly into the ground.

The single engine plane is said to be an RV-6, which is built from a kit and has a wingspan of about 25 feet.

The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.

To learn more about RV experimental planes like the one believed to have gone down, click here to visit the manufacturer's web site.

©2009 WECT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.