DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) - A small plane crashed Sunday morning as it approached Dare County Regional Airport and the pilot's body has been located.
Dare County Regional Airport Director Robert Benson told WAVY.com Monday morning the body of the pilot was located inside the plane's wreckage. He is said to be an experienced pilot who has been flying for years. WAVY News' Liz Palka reports the pilot is 49-years-old and is from Raleigh.
He has been identified as Greg Carlisle.
"He died doing what he loved, which was flying," Carlisle's brother-in-law Paul Beaman said. "He was an excellent pilot and he was a wonderful human being."
According to Dorothy Killingsworth with Dare County Emergency Management, a small plane went down in the Croatan Sound around 11:45 a.m. Sunday as it approached the airport on Roanoke Island.
The plane Carlilse was flying has been identified as a 1978 Piper Seneca.
Dare County rescue crews and the Coast Guard responded to the area to search for survivors.
A female passenger, identified as Joanna Diana Redmon, was recovered and brought ashore by Dare County rescue crews, according to a press release from the Coast Guard. Medics transported her to a local hospital for treatment. The Coast Guard and Dare County rescue searched for Carlisle until sundown Sunday and resumed early Monday morning.
Benson told WAVY.com the airport made radio contact with Carlisle before the crash and at the time nothing seemed to be wrong. Benson says the plane crashed a mile west of the runaway shortly after radio contact.
A resident near the Croatan Sound reported seeing the plane before it went down.
"I heard a plane come over real low over the tree line," said Judd Beatty. "It kind of struck me as a little funny. It was pretty low. They don't normally travel that low over my house. Then about twenty seconds later I heard this kind of dull metal to water kind of sound."
Moments later several residents called the fire department after hearing the crash followed by screams.
"I heard a woman hollering for help, then I heard a boat," Beatty said.
Roanoke Island Fire Chief Williams Anthony says when first responders arrived at the scene the fog was so thick they could barely see across the water.
"You could hear the woman screaming. We made our way out there with boat just following the sounds of her voice," Beatty said. "It's a miracle at best they found her with the low visibility and the fog."
First responders rescued Redmon near the shoreline. She was not wearing a life jacket. Chief Anthony says when they found her she was conscious and alert.
"She's extremely lucky, extremely lucky. Someone was watching over her today," said Beatty.
When first responders realized the woman had escaped a crashed plane in the Croatan Sound they called in extra reinforcements.
"Once the helicopter got out here and the fog lifted, they were able to identify the wreckage of an aircraft," Beatty said.
Chief Anthony says divers have marked where the plane wreckage is in the Croatan Sound.
Numerous agencies were on scene to assist with search and rescue efforts, including Dare County Emergency Management, Dare County EMS, Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Department, Chicamacomico Volunteer Fire Department, Nags Head Fire and Rescue, NC Highway Patrol, NC Marine Patrol and NC Wildlife.
The Federal Aviation Administration and The National Transportation Safety Board have been notified of the accident.
The Coast Guard officially suspended the search for the pilot Friday afternoon.
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