‘Young Waterfowlers’ Day’ honors students killed in Carteret County plane crash

The Down East community will pause Monday to honor high school students killed in a plane crash in Carteret County one year ago.
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 1:20 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 13, 2023 at 7:51 PM EST
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ATLANTIC, N.C. (WITN) - The Down East community paused Monday to honor high school students killed in a plane crash in Carteret County one year ago.

Four East Carteret High School students were among eight people killed on February 13, 2022, as the group was returning from a duck hunting trip in Hyde County. The Pilatus PC-12/47 plane, headed for the Beaufort airport, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

The county has declared Monday as Young Waterfowlers’ Day to honor Noah Styron, Jake Taylor, Daily Shepherd, and Kole McInnis.

“Noah, Jake, Daily, and Kole all grew up together; coming to my house for Easter egg hunts, and end of school pig pickings, or hot dog roasts. I think it’s a great tribute to them. It really hits home when you lose so many people like that,” said Carteret County Commissioner Chris Chadwick.

A memorial service and tree planting were held at 10:00 a.m. Monday with a balloon release at Atlantic Elementary School.

Students and staff in Carteret County Schools, as well as the community, wore camouflage on Monday as a sign of community support and solidarity.

“It’s quite impressive. I think it’s awesome and all four of these boys, they were all into something. But every time I ride by here and see these trees, I’ll think about ’em,” said McInnis’ grandfather Terry McInnis.

The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to release a final report on the crash. Just last month, the families of five victims settled a lawsuit against the owner of the plane, the companies that employed the pilot, and the pilot’s estate.

Others killed in the crash were:

  • Ernest “Teen” Rawls, 67, Greenville, pilot
  • Jeffrey Rawls, 28, Greenville
  • Stephanie Fulcher, 42, Sea Level
  • Douglas “Hunter” Parks, 45, Sea Level