Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Middlesex, Nash County, North Carolina: No plane found after two-hour search

The search for a possibly downed plane in Nash County is over.

N.C. Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Jimmie Silver and Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone both confirmed late Wednesday morning that the search was called off after officials combed the area for two hours. Stone said the plane had reportedly been spotted flying near Middlesex late Tuesday evening. The search was being coordinated by the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Highway Patrol, Civil Air Patrol and the National Guard.

Silver said a Highway Patrol helicopter that was making flyovers Wednesday morning around the area where the plane was believed to have been seen was not part of the search operation for the missing plane, but part of an ongoing drug investigation.

No signs of smoke from any possible crash site were seen Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, Silver said, and the odor people reportedly smelled “could have been from someone burning trash nearby.”

Nash County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a plane in distress at 6:45 p.m., according to a press release. Emergency officials in the area reported smelling an odor they believed could have been jet fuel; however, officials could not confirm the source of the odor.

Residents in the Middlesex area reported seeing and hearing the plane believed to have sent the distress call, according to the release. 

Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport officials said Wednesday they received no reports of planes missing landing times, and no planes had been reported damaged. Officials at Ball Airport in Louisburg, Wilson Industrial Air Park in Wilson and Tarboro-Edgecombe County Airport reported the same.

Attempts to reach officials at Double S. Airport in Red Oak and Raleigh-Durham International Airport for comment were unsuccessful as of presstime. 

MIDDLESEX, N.C. — Authorities have suspended the search for a plane that reportedly crashed Tuesday night in Nash County.

Authorities searched on foot and by helicopter, but were unable to located a plane after two hours.

Investigators said they will resume the search Wednesday if they receive a report of an overdue plane or if wreckage is spotted.

According to the Nash County Sheriff's Office, an air traffic controller from Washington, D.C. received a call from a pilot who had picked up a distress signal from the plane in Nash County. That air traffic controller then called 911 to alert local authorities.

The Nash County Sheriff's Office said that fire crews were sent out to the area of N.C. Highway 231 in Middlesex at about 6:45 p.m. and fire and EMS personnel reported smelling a strong odor that was possibly aviation fuel.

Two nearby residents told deputies that they heard a plane while a child told deputies they saw the plane.

One investigator said a witness reported seeing a plane make "a sharp right turn that looked out of control."

Local authorities worked with Civil Air Patrol and the National Guard to search the area Tuesday night.


MIDDLESEX, N.C. (WNCN) — The search for a possible downed place in Nash County was called off around 10 p.m. Tuesday and will not be resumed Wednesday, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Capt. Eddie Moore told CBS North Carolina that an airplane from the Civil Air Patrol flew over the area and nothing was located and they have found no information that shows an airplane actually crashed.

MIDDLESEX, N.C. (WNCN) — Crews in Nash County searched for a possible downed plane for several hours Tuesday night after officials reported a distress signal, officials said.

The incident was reported around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday when air traffic control officials in Washington, D.C. told Nash County authorities that a plane was picking up a distress signal in the Middlesex area, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office said.

When deputies got to the area of N.C. Highway 231 and Buck Deans Road they could smell an odor similar to aviation fuel.

Two people in the area also reported “hearing” a plane and a child saw a plane, officials said.

Later Tuesday night, the Civil Air Patrol flew over the area and did not pick up any sort of signal, officials said. Just before 10 p.m., authorities decided to end the search for the night.

Authorities will reassess the situation Wednesday morning to see if a search will be continued in day-time hours.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol assisted in the search.

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