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Small plane wreckage is found in North Carolina after disappearing off radar as it tried to land 

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Two people have died in a small plane crash that occurred Sunday evening after a pilot, described as sounding ‘nervous’, contacted air traffic control in North Carolina about an emergency. 

Searchers found on Monday what’s believed to be the wreckage of the small plane that disappeared from radar the previous night while approaching Raleigh-Durham International Airport, authorities said.

The disappearance of the single-engine plane near prompted an intensive overnight search of a nearby state park and temporarily halted departures and landings of commercial flights at the airport.

Airport officials issued a statement Monday saying the wreckage was found but offered no other details about who may have been aboard the plane or whether it had experienced mechanical problems midair.

‘The pilot sounded nervous,’ Sean Jesrani – who was listing to air traffic control scanners at the time – told WRAL. ‘It was obviously dark out and he didn’t make it to the airport. I hope they find the plane and I hope the pilot’s okay.’ 

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Agencies responded after the incident was reported 7.25pm Sunday and 'the pilot sounded nervous' before the aircraft was eventually discovered between trees in a North Carolina park

Agencies responded after the incident was reported 7.25pm Sunday and ‘the pilot sounded nervous’ before the aircraft was eventually discovered between trees in a North Carolina park

The Piper PA32 was attempting to land at Raleigh-Durham International when it vanished off radar (file image)

The Piper PA32 was attempting to land at Raleigh-Durham International when it vanished off radar (file image)

Umstead State Park is 5,200 acres of dense forest with few roads and little to no light

 Umstead State Park is 5,200 acres of dense forest with few roads and little to no light

He said the pilot seemed timid and confused. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said radar lost track of the Piper PA32 at about 7.25pm Sunday as it approached Runway 32, the smallest of three landing strips and perpendicular to what the airport considers its primary runway. 

The FAA website said the single-engine plane typically has around six seats. The origin of the route is unknown.

Air operations were halted for about 20 minutes Sunday night as firefighting and rescue units rushed to the wooded area. 

That caused a number of commercial flights into the airport to be delayed or diverted until regular operations resumed.

Rescuers from at least a dozen state and local agencies spent the night searching in and around William B. Umstead State Park, a 5,600-acre (2,260-hectare) wooded expanse bounded by an interstate, the airport and a state highway.  

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Rescuers spent the night searching in and around William B. Umstead State Park, a 5,600-acre (2,260-hectare) wooded expanse bounded by an interstate, the airport and a state highway

Rescuers spent the night searching in and around William B. Umstead State Park, a 5,600-acre (2,260-hectare) wooded expanse bounded by an interstate, the airport and a state highway

Searchers looked overnight but had to pause around 2am as darkness hindered them. They resumed Monday

Searchers looked overnight but had to pause around 2am as darkness hindered them. They resumed Monday

Airport officials offered no other details about who may have been aboard the plane or whether it had experienced mechanical problems midair. It's seen wedged between trees

Airport officials offered no other details about who may have been aboard the plane or whether it had experienced mechanical problems midair. It’s seen wedged between trees

Firefighters and other rescuers were shown on news footage heading into the woods with flashlights late Sunday and early Monday

Firefighters and other rescuers were shown on news footage heading into the woods with flashlights late Sunday and early Monday

Teams were from RDU airport, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, N.C. Park Rangers, Raleigh Police Department, Wake County EMS, Wake County Sheriff’s Department, Wake County Emergency Management, Wake County Fire Services, Durham Highway Fire Department, Cary Fire Department and Cary EMS. 

Airport spokesman Crystal Feldman said Sunday night that the dense woods and darkness hindered initial phases of the search that included helicopters scanning for signs of heat coming from the wreck. 

‘Umstead State Park is 5,200 acres of dense forest with few roads and little to no light,’ Feldman said Sunday. ‘It could take a very long time for us to find this plane.’ 

Firefighters and other rescuers were shown on news footage heading into the woods with flashlights late Sunday and early Monday. 

The search paused around 2am due to the darkness.

On Monday morning, authorities began launching drones from an airport runway to fly over the state park to assist in the search.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the investigation of what caused the plane’s trouble, according to the FAA. 

Law enforcement set up a command post in the area amid the probe. 

Air operations had been halted for about 20 minutes Sunday night as firefighting and rescue units rushed to the wooded area

Air operations had been halted for about 20 minutes Sunday night as firefighting and rescue units rushed to the wooded area

Airport spokesman Crystal Feldman said Sunday night that the dense woods and darkness hindered initial phases of the search that included helicopters scanning for signs of heat

Airport spokesman Crystal Feldman said Sunday night that the dense woods and darkness hindered initial phases of the search that included helicopters scanning for signs of heat



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