Local News

Pilot in Guilford plane crash was Fuquay-Varina woman

Posted April 1, 2011 10:56 a.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2011 7:05 p.m. EDT

— Authorities identified the pilot killed in a small plane crash in Guilford County late Wednesday as a Fuquay-Varina woman.

Marcia Salmons Keaton, 50, was flying the Beechcraft Baron 58 owned by Charlotte-based charter company Jet Logistics when the aircraft plunged into a house on Brian Hollars Court in High Point, about 3 miles from Piedmont Triad International Airport, according to High Point police.

Passenger Dr. Thomas Littlejohn III of Winston-Salem, president of clinical research firm PMG, also was killed in the crash. No one on the ground was hurt.

The plane left Wilmington on Wednesday afternoon and was headed to Winston-Salem when it encountered storms and limited visibility. The National Weather Service reported heavy fog in the area at the time, with visibility as low as a quarter-mile.

Keaton spoke with air traffic controllers, who rerouted her to Greensboro because of the bad weather, according to Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta.

“I don’t think you would ever have found a more rooted person, with a deep belief in God,” a grief-stricken Davide Keaton said Friday of his wife.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the crash site on Thursday to try to determine the cause of the crash.

On Friday, crews removed the plane's wreckage from the house so investigators can examine it more closely.

"It's not something that you can just jump to a conclusion based on one or two pieces of information. So, there's lots of information that take time to develop," NTSB investigator Dennis Diaz said.

Jet Logistics has declined to comment on the crash, referring all questions to the NTSB.

"Our highest priority remains addressing the personal welfare of those immediately affected by this tragic loss, as well as any others directly or indirectly impacted," the company said in a statement posted on its website.