COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Thursday released a preliminary report on the investigation into an October 22 plane crash in Colleton County.
According to the report, the Piper PA-32R-300 originated in Fredericksburg, Virginia and was bound for Miami Florida.
Nearly three hours into the flight, the pilot attempted to stop at the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro for fuel. As he began the descent, he “declared an emergency due to a lagging engine.”
Air traffic control advised that Lowcountry Regional Airport was only seven miles away, but the pilot did not respond.
Shortly before 4:00 p.m., witnesses in the area of the crash saw the plane flying toward an open field. They heard a loud engine noise followed by a “pop”, then the engine noise stopped.
The plane hit a 70-foot-tall pine tree then multiple other trees in a forested area, which ripped off the wings and right stabilator.
After crashing, the fuselage caught on fire.
The pilot and one passenger were the only people on the plane. The pilot was ejected and had multiple traumatic injuries as well as severe burns.
The passenger, identified as 24-year-old Madeline Thomey, died on scene.