Local News

One Killed, One Injured in Moore County Plane Crash

Posted May 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A deadly plane crash in Moore County has investigators scrambling for answers.

One man, 38-year-old James Capstaff of Aberdeen, died when the Challenger II Ultralight aircraft crashed at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday near Pinebluff in Moore County. Wednesday would have been his 39th birthday. Capstaff came from a family of pilots. In 1978, he earned his license. Six years ago he built the ultralight involved in the crash.

Police say the plane slammed beneath the surface of a shallow lake at the 13th hole at Legacy Golf Links golf course off U.S. 15-501. Police say the victim's body was trapped inside the wreckage, but has since been recovered.

A second Aberdeen man, 32-year-old Ricky Jackson believed to be the pilot, survived the crash and went to get help for Capstaff. Jackson is recovering from minor injuries at Moore Regional Hospital and doesn't recall the details of the accident.

Legacy's Assistant Grounds Supervisor,Tim Patterson, said witnesses told him it appeared the pilot was "playing around", trying to dip the plane's wheels into the water when the plane went down.

Charlotte Lammers of Pinebluff also noticed the plane before it went down.

"I was concerned about how low this aircraft was flying over the houses here in town," said Lammers. "It was well into dusk and he was at tree-top level, practicing touch and go landings in a field a block from my house. I had just walked in to the house and asked my husband if we shouldn't call the sheriff."

Lammers was without power, as were many on either side of Highway 1, after the plane reportedly hit a power line.

Authorities have no evidence as to why the plane crashed. The FAA made a brief appearance Wednesday afternoon, but left when they found out the aircraft was an ultralight. We're told the because of the way the plane was registered, the FAA will have to return to the scene.