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Investigators are still working to piece together details surrounding a puzzling plane crash that killed a Canadian pilot at Nashville International Airport early Tuesday morning.

The wreckage of the single-engine Cessna was discovered on a runway by a taxiing plane at about 8:45 a.m., several hours after authorities believe the accident took place.

The pilot, a man in his mid-40s who has not been identified, came to Nashville without logging a flight plan. It remains unclear if he had communicated with officials here.

"At this point we're still examining the air traffic control tapes and radar to determine if there was any communication between the aircraft and the control tower," said Jay Neylon, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The airport did a sweep of the runway at about 2 a.m. and did not find any debris, Neylon said. The exact timing of the fiery crash is still unknown.

The pilot had rented the plane Monday from Windsor Flying Club in Ontario, according to club president David Gillies. He had filed plans to fly to Pelee Island on Lake Eerie, a route he had flown multiple times.

Gillies said the man notified authorities when he landed on the island hours before the crash, but did not mention another trip.

"There are so many uncertainties surrounding this occurrence," Gillies said. "I have no idea what flight plan he made."

Planes land and take off at Nashville's airport around the clock, according to spokeswoman Emily Richard. Pilots are not always required to log official flight plans.

Airport officials did not answer questions about the crash or the discovery of the wreckage, citing the ongoing investigation.

Richard said the Federal Aviation Administration staffs and regulates air traffic control, and referred questions about Nashville's control tower staffing to the FAA.

The pilot had been a licensed flyer since 1989, and had been a club member for many years.

"From our records we see that he was legally flying the airplane," Gillies said.

Gillies said the club was working with Canadian authorities to locate the man's family before releasing his name.

"We're all pretty broken up about having lost a fellow flyer," he said.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority called safety and security the airport's top priority.

"As an FAA certificated airport, MNAA is required to comply with the FAA's safety standards. MNAA has long maintained a strong record of safety and follows stringent federal safety regulations," the statement read. "We uphold these regulations every day, including yesterday. We have inspectors and crash, fire and rescue personnel on duty 24 hours per day, 365 days per year to respond in the event of any emergency.

"MNAA is working collaboratively with the FAA and NTSB as they investigate the accident and determine the facts. It would be premature to comment about any facts involving this accident until the NTSB completes its investigation."

Reported earlier

The plane that crashed onto one of Nashville International Airport's runways Tuesday likely sat there for hours before another taxiing plane discovered the wreckage, an official said.

The small, single-engine Cessna-172 crashed sometime after 3 a.m., killing the pilot, according to National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson. The crash was reported to Nashville emergency crews shortly after 9 a.m.

An NTSB investigator was dispatched to Nashville on Tuesday to probe the crash further.

"We will want to understand what the circumstances were that caused it to go undiscovered for so long," Knudson said.

The plane was registered in Canada to the Windsor Flying Club in Ontario. An official from the group declined to comment about the incident.

Airport emergency personnel, Metro Police, Metro Fire and Metro OEM responded to the accident. The Davidson County Medical Examiner would not comment on the crash victim's identity.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed it had responded to the crash, but would not divulge any more details Tuesday.

"The FAA is investigating," a prepared statement read. "The FAA does not have any further information at this time."

Runway 2 Center was shuttered as crews responded to the crash. Three other runways remained open and operational.

There were no delays to commercial flights Tuesday, and travelers navigated the terminal normally.

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