Former State Senator's Son, Family Killed In Plane Crash
Posted March 3, 2003 3:59 a.m. EST
ARARAT, N.C. — Four members of a Bladen County family and their baby sitter were killed when their private plane crashed as they returned home from a wedding.
The five people died when the Beech A-26 went down Saturday evening in a lightly wooded area on a farm near the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport, Surry County emergency services director John Shelton said Sunday.
The Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta said the plane was en route to Elizabethtown.
The plane was flown by the son of former state Sen. Oscar Harris of Dunn.
Shelton identified the victims as Oscar Nathan Harris II, 32, of White Lake; his wife, Lisa, 31; his daughter, Sueanna, 2; and his son, Oscar Nathan Harris III, who was 10 months old.
The fifth victim was Mary Scoggins, 21, of Elizabethtown. Scoggins was a junior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and frequently baby sat for the family.
"We have never felt such pain, loss and sorrow," Harris said in a statement. "... We ask our family, friends and neighbors to continue to remember all of us in their prayers."
Shelton said the plane disappeared from radar screens when it was about three miles out. Wreckage was found about 1-3/4 miles from the airport, which is between Mount Airy and Pilot Mountain in the county on the Virginia border.
"The assumption is that the plane was trying to get back to the airport because it had gotten into trouble," Shelton said. Investigators had found no record of the pilot making a distress call, he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board was examining the crash site Sunday. Investigators were being hampered by the remoteness of the spot and ground muddy after days of rain, Shelton said.
The plane appeared to crash nose first, but it didn't appear that the plane burned after hitting the ground, Shelton said.
Aircraft registration records indicate the plane was made in 1978 and registered to Harris in December 2001.
Harris was an avid pilot and operated a landscaping business that did work for the military, said friend and neighbor H. Goldston Womble Jr. who is the mayor of White Lake.
Harris often would fly to work, Womble said.