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September 30, 2011
An Apex, North Carolina, man was killed on Sunday after his small plane went down in a wooded area near Raleigh Executive Jetport in Lee County.
The 43-year-old was piloting a 1996 Velocity RG plane, which crashed around 12:45 p.m.—minutes after the pilot radioed to air traffic control that he was departing.
Another pilot in the air at the same time has told investigators that the late pilot’s plane was lower than usual and appeared to be losing altitude prior to crashing.
Immediately following the crash, the pilot was able to remove himself from the plane by 10 feet where he was met by three rescuers who tried to remove some of his burned clothing, according to The News & Observer.
"They helped to keep him calm until we could get there," said Deep River Fire Chief Larry Kelly. "He was conscious. I was able to talk with him to find out if anyone else was in the plane. He was in a lot of pain. He did not give any indication of what happened."
The man, who suffered second and third degree burns, was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he later died.
"The entire airplane was consumed by fire," said Brian Rayner, a senior safety investigator at the National Trasportation Safety Board. "The engine was significantly damaged; the gears are melted together; the instruments have been destroyed."
The NTSB says they’ve already determined that the crash was not caused by mechanical failure, but won’t comment on whether or not they think pilot error is at fault.
“I don’t have any evidence of a mechanical malfunction at this time,” said Rayner.
It could take up to a year for the NTSB to make their determination about the crash’s cause.
What do you think may have caused this North Carolina aviation accident?
If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, the aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy can help.
PHOTO CREDIT: WRAL.COM
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