COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — One person died when a small plane crashed Tuesday morning outside of Whiteville.
Columbus County Municipal Airport says a 1966 Beechcraft BE-35 Debonair aircraft was trying to land at the airport but crashed in a wooded area near Runway 24 around 10:30 a.m.
According to Sgt. S.G. Greene with the NC Highway Patrol, the call came in that a plane had crashed off of Pleasant Plains Rd.
Sgt Greene says George Chartress, III, 62, from Lake City, Florida was the pilot. He died in the crash. The passenger, Richard Shawn, 58, from Bradford, Rhode Island only had minor injuries and refused medical treatment.
Greene says the plane took off from Cannon Creek, Florida around 7:40 a.m. and was on the way to Rhode Island. They were stopping in Columbus County to refuel. As they were making an approach to land, the engine stalled and crashed about 400 yards from the runway.
Sammy Jacobs and his friend were among the first to respond. The two heard the crash was behind a little white church on Pleasant Plains Road so they headed that way.
“We could hear the man hollering. And I told him, I said, you go in there and see if you can help him and I’ll go out here and get some help. And that’s, that’s what we done. We were back off the road a little ways so I run back out there to the highway and flagged some log men down,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs runs a wrecker service and said helping people is what he lives for. Jacob said he is just glad he could help save at least one life.
The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the pilot’s cause of death.