LIVE VIDEO: Live at Five at Four    Watch
 

Body of student pilot who fell from small plane is found

12:50 AM, Mar 31, 2013   |    comments
  • Authorities have recovered the body of a student pilot who fell from this Zodiac 601 two-seater when it apparently malfunctioned and went into a nose-dive. The unidentified student fell 2,500 to his death. The instructor pilot, who was also not identified, land the plane safely at Collegedale Municipal Airport in Bradley County, Tenn. (Photo: WRCB-TV)
    
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Update 1:48 a.m.

Police on Saturday recovered the body of a student pilot who was not wearing a seat belt during a training flight and tumbled from his small two-seater plane when it went into a nose dive over rural Tennessee.

Reuters reported that the body was found in a tree-line not far from a roadway.

The victim, who has not been identified, fell 2,500 feet to his death during the flight on Friday, WRCB-TV reported.

"The people inside the plane were not wearing seat belts," Bradley County interim fire chief Troy Spence told WRCB-TV. "So when they lost control of the plane, in an attempt to regain control of the plane, the passenger was ejected."

Spence said the instructor apparently had some kind of malfunction with the Zodiac 601 "and had a rapid descent."

Lowell Sterchi, who works at Collegedale Municipal Airport, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the student was being trained by an instructor in the small plane when the canopy came off.

The instructor, who also was not identified, managed to land the plane at the airport while emergency crews scoured the countryside around East Brainerd, Tenn., about eight miles away looking for the victim. East Brainerd is in the Chattanooga area.

Authorities were able to close in on the likely location using GPS coordinates and the pings from cellphones that the victim was carrying at the time, Sterchi said.

The Zodiac 601 is an all-metal, light sport plane that is built from a pre-cut, pre-drilled kit.

WRBC reported that flight records showed that the plane was built by 82-year-old Clarence Andrews, a local resident, who died in December in an accident involving a different plane.

Contributing: Associated Press


Update 3:12 p.m.

(Sat. March 30) CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Authorities in Bradley County have found a man who was thrown from an experimental aircraft while he was learning to fly from an instructor.

Bradley County Fire and Rescue Officials confirmed to WRCB-TV  that they had located the man, who fell some 2,500 feet from a two-seater plane.

Collegedale Municipal Airport employee Lowell Sterchi said the man was being trained by an instructor in his Zodiac 601 aircraft on Friday when the canopy came off.

The man's seat belt was not fastened and he was thrown out of the plane. Neither the student pilot nor the instructor was identified.

Sterchi said the instructor landed the plane and was not physically hurt. Sterchi said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified.

Previous Story

(Friday, March 30) CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Authorities in Hamilton County are still searching for a man who was thrown from an experimental aircraft while he was learning to fly from an instructor.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that police in Collegedale and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office on Friday were searching the ground for the man, who has not been identified.

Collegedale Municipal Airport employee Lowell Sterchi said the man was being trained by an instructor in his Zodiac 601 aircraft at about 2,500 feet when the canopy came off.

The man's seat belt was not fastened and he was thrown out from the plane over the East Brainerd and Apison areas of the county.

Sterchi said the instructor, who Sterchi would not identify, landed the plane and was not physically hurt.  Sterchi said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified.

Most Watched Videos