Weather Likely Cause In Fatal Duplin Co. Plane Crash

It appears bad weather may have caused a plane to crash last October in Duplin County, killing the pilot.

Killed in the October 5th crash outside of Magnolia was 62-year-old Kenneth Hetzel of Yorkville, Illinois. His amateur-built plane crashed into the woods, not far from a mobile home park.

In it's factual report released Thursday, the National Transportation Safety Board says after leaving Wilmington, the pilot contacted Seymour Johnson approach control and told them that he was "in the thick of the weather". Two minutes later the plane was at 1,500 feet and circling before being lost off of radar.

A witness told investigators that he saw the plane spinning out of the clouds towards the ground. He also said it was raining heavily at the time of the crash.

The NTSB says there was no evidence of mechanical malfunction before the crash and an autopsy showed Hetzel died from massive trauma.


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