Local News

Two Killed in Mid-Air Collision Over Moore County

Posted October 7, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— At least two people were killed Tuesday afternoon when two light planes collided over Moore County.

The Federal Aviation Administration says that a Beech Bonanza and a single-engine Piper collided in mid-air about 1:40 p.m.

Authorities began getting calls about an explosion and reports of wreckage. Officials found debris in the roadway on Needham Grove Church Road, which was closed as authorities began their investigation. A Moore County sheriff's deputy says wreckage from the collision is spread over a three-square-mile area.

``I just heard this loud explosion, and it disintegrated right in front of my eyes,'' said witness Dora Vest. Debris fell from the sky, she said.

Authorities confirmed two deaths, although the names of the victims has not been released. Officers brought in the state Highway Patrol helicopter to search for a potential third victim. The bodies of the two, believed to be a man and a woman, were found on opposite sides of Needham Grove Road about 300 yards apart.

No one on the ground is believed to have been injured.

Searchers carried small orange plastic flags, like the ones that surveyors use, to mark airplane and body parts, said Capt. Tommy Handy of the Moore County Sheriff's Department.

The tail section of one of the planes was found in a tree in someone's yard near Needham Grove Church Road. When a second tail section was found, authorities realized that two planes had collided.

It is not known where the planes were when they collided. The Moore County airport does not have a control tower.