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Recovery Of Wrecked Plane May Be Tougher Than Expected

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Fire officials said Monday that recovering a wrecked plane in Fuquay-Varina will be tougher than they originally thought.

Sky 5 helped guide rescuers to the crash site. The single-engine plane with James and Marilyn Downard aboard crashed Friday into a heavily wooded area, several hundred yards from the end of the runway at Triple W Airport in Fuquay-Varina.

Rescuers had to deal with heavy brush and a swampy area to get to Marilyn Downard. When officials found the plane, they found it was heavily damaged but not ripped apart.

"The biggest part of the plane was intact. The engine was actually within a tree in a big fork of a tree about probably 20 to 25 feet in the air, which we had to work under right up under which caused a big concern maybe falling," said Chief Tony Mauldin of the Fuquay-Varina fire department.

Downard and his wife escaped the crash with minor injuries. Marilyn is still in the hospital and she is listed in good condition.

The Federal Aviation Administration has finished its investigation. It is now up to Downard to get the plane out of the woods, which Mauldin said will be tough.

"They have got to cut a road or path through the woods down in there to it from what it looked like to be," he said.

The 55-year-old plane, a Ryan Navion, was known to be well built. It was also used by the military as an observation plane in the early 1950s.