HUNTSVILLE — One person has been killed and another airlifted to University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville with life-threatening injuries after a plane crash in a remote area south of Huntsville on Tuesday.
Rescue teams reached the crash scene at around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, some nine hours after an all-out search had been launched. After the site was discovered from the air, first responders arriving on foot discovered that there was one survivor — the plane’s pilot, who was airlifted to UT Medical Center. His wife was killed in the crash. The couple’s dog also survived.
Scott County Sheriff Ronnie Phillips joined his team of law enforcement and other rescue workers shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, and crews remained in search for the missing plane throughout the night. The search was organized after the couple’s daughter — Erin Patton — notified authorities that her parents’ plane had not arrived. They were flying from Florida to Ohio.
Phillips said an aircraft from the U.S. Air Force’s Civil Air Patrol flew over the region during the overnight hours and was able to ping the missing plane but was unable to determine its exact location, due to the rugged terrain. An aircraft from the Tennessee National Guard was also involved with the search.
However, the ping gave rescue workers a starting point after morning broke on Wednesday, and an aircraft from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division was able to locate the crash site after only minutes in the air. Wade Young, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s wildlife officer assigned to Scott County, helped involve the USDA aviation team with the search effort.
The site of the crash was along an old logging road in a wooded area.
A large team of rescue workers responded to the crash site, including the Scott County Rescue Squad, Scott County Ambulance Service, Sheriff’s Department, volunteer firefighters, TWRA and others.
Phillips said the names of the couple cannot yet be released, pending notification of family. However, he said, "Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the couple's family."
More information in next week’s Independent Herald, or online at ihoneida.com as it becomes available.