UNAKA, N.C. – A twin-engine plane flying from Georgia to Kentucky crashed in mountainous western North Carolina and searchers have recovered one body, an official said Wednesday night.
A helicopter crew spotted the burning wreckage of the Beech Baron 58 aircraft late Wednesday afternoon, said Cherokee County spokesman Doug Clement. Ground crews had limited access to the crash site, but searchers were able to locate the body, he said in a statement.
Clement said officials still don't know how many people were on the plane, which can seat up to six.
Also, Clement said the crash sparked a 5-acre brush fire that was being contained by the N.C. Forestry Service.
The search for crash victims will resume Thursday, Clement said. Some local media had reported that up to three people had been killed, but officials did not confirm that. Authorities have scheduled a news conference for Thursday at 1 p.m.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen confirmed that a plane went down about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday near the small community of Unaka, about 125 miles west of Asheville and near the state line with Tennessee. Bergen said the plane had left a suburban Atlanta airport earlier in the day, bound for Hazard, Ky.
The plane is registered to Aero Resources Corp. of Hazard. Jeff Hylton, manager of Wendell Ford Airport in Hazard, said he had no information about the crash other than what he learned from news coverage. Aero Resources is headquartered at the airport.
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