Pilot identified in fatal Kinston plane crash

Published: Jun. 18, 2021 at 11:39 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 1:12 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - The pilot who lost his life during Thursday night’s airplane crash near the Kinston Drag Strip has been identified as 52-year-old William James Brinkley of Biddle Road in Dover.

Federal investigators will be investigating the cause of the deadly crop-duster crash just outside of Kinston.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it was an Air Tractor AT-402B, a single-engine turboprop.

Brinkley was the only person on board, according to Lenoir County Public Information Officer Bryan Hanks.

It happened around 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Kinston Drag Strip on Highway 11 South.

A race was going on at the time, and at least one spectator took video of the aircraft going down.

Several others at the race who talked with WITN said the crop-duster caught on fire.

Lenoir County resident Taylor Nelson said, “You would never in a million years imagine nothing like that happening here, especially at the drag strip. It’s just, it’s really just kind of a loss for words for it. My heart goes out to the family and I hope everything works out for them but it’s just a big tragedy that kind of hit close to home, you know?”

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating.

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