MILLERSBURG, OH (WJW/CNN) - Three people are dead after their small plane crashed close to an airport in Millersburg, OH.
"It was reported to us that a neighbor seen an aircraft circling the airport 4:30 Monday morning," Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly said.
A double prop Piper 23 seemed to vanish into the thick dense fog.
Zimmerly said the neighbor who saw the plane rushed to the airport to radio the pilot, but he got no response.
A plane traveling from Terra Haute, IN, to Stuebenville, OH, was reported missing Monday morning. An intense search began.
Early Tuesday afternoon they found the downed aircraft.
"It's just south east of the runway in a wooded area, apparently the aircraft struck some trees and went down at that point," Zimmerly said.
Tom Bird owns the Hardy Township Property.
"You could see the limbs had been clipped and plane had catapulted and so forth and occupants had been ejected," he said.
All three people on board the plane, two men and one woman, were killed.
"Fifty yards to north and they would have landing in a field with no trees and 150 yards northwest they would have landed on the runway. So it was very close and very unfortunate," Bird said.
People at the nearby airport did not want to speculate, but said there are some strange facts about this case.
For starters, they wonder why the pilot never filed a flight plan. Next, they said he was flying low enough and long enough that his cell phone pinged at a tower north of the airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board should be at the crash site some time Wednesday.
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