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 ofwreckage. Officials found debris in the roadwayon Needham Grove Church Road, which was closed as authorities began their investigation. AMoore County sheriff's deputy says wreckage from the collision is spreadover a three-square-mile area.
``I just heard this loud explosion, and it disintegrated right in frontofmy eyes,'' said witness Dora Vest. Debris fell from the sky, shesaid.
Authorities confirmed two deaths, although the names of the victims hasnot been released. Officers brought in the state Highway Patrol helicopterto search for a potential third victim. The bodies of the two, believed tobe a man and a woman, were found on opposite sides of Needham Grove Roadabout 300 yards apart.
No one on the ground is believed to have been injured.
Searchers carried small orange plastic flags, like the ones thatsurveyors 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 atree in someone's yard near Needham Grove Church Road. When a second tailsection was found, authorities realized that two planes had collided.
It is not known where the planes were when they collided. The MooreCounty airport does not have a control tower.