Crews find missing plane, pilot killed in Jackson Co.

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UPDATE (3/15/19  9 p.m.):

Local, state and federal agencies are investigating a deadly plane crash in Western North Carolina. 

According to officials, the plane lost contact around 6:15 p.m. on Thursday in the Whiteside Mountain area of Jackson County, North Carolina. 

Rescue teams found the wreckage shortly before 1 p.m. on Friday. 

The pilot, Gary Huttleston of Aiken, South Carolina, did not survive the crash. Huttleston was the only person on board. 

Agencies from across Western North Carolina were staged at the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad Headquarters, as teams searched the rugged mountains for a single engine private aircraft on Friday. 

According to officials, the pilot has taken off from Knoxville, Tennesse, around 5:24 p.m. on Thursday. The plane was headed to Aiken, South Carolina. 

“About 6:15 p.m. Thursday evening we received a call that a plane was in trouble… maybe down.” Jeff Stewart, Chief of Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad, told 7News. 

Stewart tells 7News they searched the area where the plane was last seen on the radar but called off the efforts around 1 a.m. on Friday due to severe weather. 

“We started again this morning (Friday) and with the weather clearing up we were able to get the aircraft in the air and did locate the aircraft,” said Stewart. 

After a more than 12 hour search, Stewart says the plane was found in an overgrown area of south of Whiteside Mountain in Southern Jackson County. 

He could not say what kind of sight they found but says Huttleston died in the crash. 

Recovery operations were underway Friday evening. 

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Huttleston is the owner of the single-engine private aircraft. 

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UPDATE (3/15/19  4 p.m.):

One person was killed in a plane crash Friday in Jackson County.

Search teams found the wreckage of the plane at about 12:45 p.m. in a rugged area of southern Jackson County, south of Whiteside Mountain. 

Gary Huttleston was piloting the single engine plane. 

Crews will continue to investigate the cause of the crash. 

Huttleston’s family arrived on scene just before 3:30 p.m. 


ORIGINAL (3/15/19 12:06 p.m.): 

Crews are searching the western North Carolina mountains for a missing airplane.

Macon County Emergency Management said in a news release that crews from Macon and Jackson counties are trying to locate the overdue plane. Its last known location was the Whiteside Mountain area around 6:15 p.m. Thursday. 

The single-engine plane was headed to Aiken, S.C. from Knoxville, Tenn. but failed to reach its destination, according to Macon County Emergency Management. 

Teams started searching around 1 a.m. Friday but had to call of the search until daylight.

Searchers are limited by the remote, rugged terrain and weather conditions. 
Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad said in a news release that local, state, and federal agencies are assisting in the full-scale search operation. 

Nat Turner, public information officer with the rescue squad, said crews are currently searching southwest of Cashiers, N.C. 

Jackson County dispatch was notified around 6:30 p.m. Thursday by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) “that a plane was in distress in southern Jackson County. Further information from the AFRCC and the FAA indicated that the plane was last seen on radar at 6:14 pm EST and that the plane was a single engine private aircraft,” according to a release issued by the rescue squad.

Check back for updates on this developing story. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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