Pilot killed in Columbus County plane crash

Published: Oct. 31, 2017 at 3:32 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2017 at 5:53 PM EDT
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(Source: WECT)
(Source: WECT)
(Source: WECT)
(Source: WECT)

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A Florida man was killed after his plane crashed outside of Whiteville Tuesday morning.

FAA officials said a Beechcraft BE-35 crashed in a wooded area short of runway 24 at the Columbus County Municipal Airport around 10:30 a.m.

Highway Patrol officials said the pilot, George Howard Chartress III, 62, took off from Lake City, Florida, at 7:40 a.m. and was headed to Rhode Island.

Chartress was approaching the Columbus County Municipal Airport to refuel when the plane lost power about 400 yards south of the runway and crashed.

Richard Shawn, 58, of Rhode Island, was a passenger in the plane and suffered minor injuries.

Airport Director Phill Edwards said that he cleared the plane to land, but didn't hear any distress calls. When the plane didn't arrive, he called Chartress, but didn't get a response.

He said that while the plane did crash near the airport, he wasn't able to see it due to the tree line.

Emergency Services Director Kay Worley said that fire crews responded quickly to the scene, but had difficulty locating the plane initially, which was around 50 yards in the woods.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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