Victim identified in deadly Colleton County plane crash
NTSB: Full investigation into crash may take 1-2 years
WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - Investigators are working to piece together what led to a deadly plane crash in Colleton County Friday afternoon.
The National Transportation Safety Board and other agencies were at the scene Saturday as they work on the initial phase of the investigation. While a preliminary report will be posted on the NTSB’s website in seven to 10 days, the full investigation could take one to two years.
NTSB air safety investigator Todd Gunther said the Piper PA-28R-300 airplane was flying from Fredericksburg, Virginia, to Miami, Florida, when it crashed about 250 yards from Round O Road near Walterboro.
At 6,000 feet, the pilot declared an emergency for an engine problem. The pilot tried to land at the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro and ended up hitting trees three miles northeast of the airport.
An initial examination of the accident site showed the airplane struck trees and then traveled for about 75 yards before coming to rest. It then caught on fire, Gunther said.
A passenger on board the aircraft was killed, while the pilot was seriously injured and taken to the hospital.
Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey identified the victim Saturday night as 24-year-old Madaline Thomey of Alexandria, Virginia. The pilot’s name has not been released.
Gunther said all pieces of the aircraft are currently in that debris field. The NTSB is working with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, the county coroner, the Federal Aviation Administration, the engine manufacturer and the aircraft manufacturer, as well as other state and local entities.
“What’s going to happen over the next few days is we’re going to be bringing in team members both for the structure of the airplane to take a look at it and the engine,” Gunther said. “Additionally, we’ll be looking at the meteorology, the weather conditions that surrounded the accident, as well as the physiology of the pilot.”
Investigators will be looking at other systems on the aircraft such as the electrical system and the fuel system to see if there was anything that may have contributed to or caused the accident.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims of this tragic accident,” Gunther said.
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