NC man dies after small plane crashes in Columbus Co.

Officials have confirmed one man died when a small plane crashed off Old Lake Road in the Riegelwood area of Columbus County (Source: WECT)

RIEGELWOOD, NC (WECT) — Emergency officials confirmed one person has died when a small plane crashed into woods Friday in Riegelwood.

Chief Steve Camlin of Acme-Delco-Riegelwood Fire and Rescue said crews found a man dead inside the wreckage of the plane, which was off Old Lake Road.

North Carolina Highway Patrol said the victim was Gene Pierce, 76, from Chinquapin in Duplin County.

According to Camlin, Pierce was flying to Wallace, when he discovered that his plane was having problems. When he tried to turn his plane back to the airport, the plane went down. Camlin said the plane appeared to have been developing engine troubles. Pierce died from the impact.

A resident of Columbus County said he may have heard the plane crash not far from his home. Johnny Herring said the plane flew low above his house, but didn’t sound like it was sputtering or having trouble. Another resident said he saw the plane circling the woods a couple times, and then it sounded like the engine stopped.

Camlin said investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene Saturday.

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