Officials identify victims of plane crash, clean wreckage from f - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Officials identify victims of plane crash, clean wreckage from forest

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NTSB investigator Ralph Hicks talks to media about Thursday's plane crash. NTSB investigator Ralph Hicks talks to media about Thursday's plane crash.
This is the plane that crashed near Hwy 17. This is the plane that crashed near Hwy 17.

Officials began early Saturday cleaning the wreckage of a plane that crashed Thursday afternoon in McClellanville.

The victims were identified Friday as Patrick Eudy, 44, of Mt. Pleasant and Robert Ulrich, 69, of Idaho.  Authorities say both deaths were caused by blunt force trauma.

NTSB investigators say they have a lot of work to and it will some time before the wreckage of the Rockwell International 690b will be removed from the dense woods inside Francis Marion National Forest.

Officials say it was an instructional flight that was lost on radar at 4:46pm Thursday.

Investigator Ralph Hicks from the NTSB said Friday afternoon the length of the wreckage  path is about 300 feet in length and 40ft wide with debris spread throughout the area.  "There are five large sections of the airplane, the nose section, the fuselage and the tail. And we also have the engines, the engines have been broken free the propellers have been broken free."

Hicks says crews will begin taking the debris out with heavy equipment on Saturday morning and will take the plane to a site in Georgia to figure out if there were possible mechanical issues with the plane.

The plane was on a training flight from the Charleston Executive Airport to the Georgetown Airport when it crashed at 5:10 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Authority. The crash site was off of South Tibwin Street about two miles off of Highway 17.

Officials with the FAA say the plane is a 1977 Rockwell International 690B, a two turbo-prop engine plane with 11 seats. Only two passengers were on board the plane when it crashed.

According to the flight track of the plane at 4:42 PM it was reported going 232 mph, then at 4:43 PM the speed dropped to 38 mph. The last recorded speed was 68 mph. The FAA says they lost contact with an aircraft about 30 miles north of Charleston. News 2 used the tail number to track the plane. The owner of the plane lives in Matthews, NC, according to Flight Aware.

Joseph Griffin and his friend were fishing near the crash scene Thursday when he saw the plane begin falling from the sky.

"I saw the plane go down pretty far down," Griffin said. "I just saw it just plummet to the ground, and it went pass the tree line."

Griffin said he heard noises that made him realize the plane was in trouble.

"The engine sounded like it was going real hard," he said. "Then, it just went down and we didn't hear anything."

When fire officials first reported to the scene, they had to rely on nearby neighbors of the rural area to give them information about where the plane crashed.

"Several residents met us at the initial command post, and stated that they heard a plane come down and then heard a loud boom noise," Fred Tetor said.

Tetor said the plane crashed into the marsh. Rescuers were seen using ATVs to maneuver their way around the scene.

At this time, officials have not released any information about the condition of the plane. They did say no severe oil spills were reported.

The Charleston County Coroner was on scene around 9:30 Thursday night, but she would not release any information on the gender or identity of the victims.

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