KENANSVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- Federal officials have been on scene in Duplin County all day trying to figure out what caused a plane to crash Sunday night.
Investigators say the plane went down in the woods less than a mile from the Kenansville airport off West Best Road.
Friends and colleagues have identified the pilot as Marine Corps Maj. Luke Parker, who was based at Camp Lejeune.
Investigators say he left Albert J. Ellis Airport in Jacksonville Sunday morning for Michigan. When he did not reach his destination, the FAA says family notified them. That's when local crews began their search.
Those who knew him say Major Parker will be missed.
"We just found out this morning that it was Luke that was in the plane that went down, and I have to tell my sons tonight, and that's going to be very hard, because they idolized Maj. Parker," friend Lt. Col. (Ret.) Ken Wolfe. "They just thought that he was everything, and he was. He could do anything."
Parker's body was pulled from the wreckage after crews found the plane around 10 p.m. Monday.
Earlier today the FAA conducted an initial investigation while the National Transportation Safety Board made its way to the scene from Atalanta. Neither agency is releasing many details at this time.
Crews left the scene just after 4 p.m. today and will resume their investigation tomorrow morning. Highway Patrol will be here all night to secure the scene.
Officials say the plane left Albert J. Ellis Airport in Jacksonville Sunday morning and was headed to Michigan when it dropped off radar.