Local News

One Killed After Plane Crashes In Cary Lake

Posted May 5, 2004 7:24 a.m. EDT

— A plane crashed in a Cary lake Monday, killing one person. Authorities are still looking for another person reportedly on board.

Officials said the four-seat single-engine Mooney M20M went down in the middle of a lake near the Brampton Moors apartments, located off of West Chatham Street.

A dive team recovered the body of one person, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorites have not released the names of the people on board.

The pilot reportedly notified RDU International about engine problems with the plane. Eyewitnesses said the plane's engine was backfiring and hit two trees before it crashed into the lake at 3:29 p.m., about five miles from the airport.

"I heard a big, old boom and I went and got my shoes and pants on. I looked out and didn't see anything, then I started hearing the sirens," witness Erik Power said.

Some of the residents at the apartment complex jumped in the water before crews arrived in hopes of trying to rescue the people in the plane.

"When we arrived, there was one guy in the lake, searching for somebody," witness Richard Avarca said.

Cary fire department officials said none of the apartments were damaged, and no one on the ground was injured.

Airport officials said travel at RDU International is not affected. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration are expected to arrive at the scene Tuesday.

The plane is registered to a TLSB Inc., out of Delaware. It was made in 1991, and according to National Transportation Safety Board records, it had not been involved in any incidents.

The Mooney M20M has a pretty good safety rating over the years. NTSB records show 11 crashes involving the plane over the past 10 years.

Two crashes were blamed on the aircraft itself -- one had engine problems killing two people while the other caught fire. However, in the second crash, the pilot was at fault for failing to have the plane inspected. In the remaining nine crashes, pilot error at the controls or weather were blamed.

It is the second plane crash in the Triangle in less than six weeks. On March 26, a

Navy F-18 Hornet

lost control as it tried to take off from RDU International. The pilot ejected safely and no one was hurt.

A few days later, Aviation Parkway turned into a runway for a

pilot with plane troubles

. He reported mechanical problems shortly after taking off from RDU International, but he could not make it back to the airport. Luckily, he was fine.