UPDATE: News 12 First at Five/ November 26, 2013
TRENTON, S.C.--We're learning new details after a plane crash kills an experienced pilot near Trenton, South Carolina. Richard Showalter was flying his Piper Apache, an older model, twin engine plane. He was flying near the Twin Lakes airport when he crashed into the woods close to the runway.
The call came in around 6 pm that a plane had crashed near Rachel Avenue in Edgefield County. The news of the crash spread quickly around the small Twin Lakes aviation community. Dana Linn, a pilot who lives in the close knit community, was worried when he heard the news. "Earlier in the afternoon, there were a couple of airplanes out, and all I could think of was, 'Oh my gosh. What if it was my neighbor?"
Unfortunately, the victim, Richard Showalter, turned out to be someone Linn did know. "I met Richard several times. He flew to Greensboro to do a luncheon with a group of the Trenton flyers. A real nice guy. Big time into flying. Loved aviation," Linn says.
NTSB officials came in early Tuesday morning to investigate the crash, but the rainy conditions presented a problem.
Todd Gunther, an investigator with the NTSB says, "Due to the weather conditions, we're being delayed and not being able to follow our normal course of investigative activies. One of the things that we're doing is removing the plane from the accident site."
They moved all of the wreckage to a secure location in Trenton where they will lay everything out, piece by piece, to try to determine what went wrong. Fortunately, for investigators, a few witnesses were around when the crash happened.
Gunther says, "From witness statements, right now what we understand, is that there was a noise, like a sputtering noise, what they sensed as a loss of power."
Showalter was flying a Piper PA-3 160. Friends tell us it was a recent purchase. Don Barnes says, "I had last spoken with Richard last Wednesday. Six days ago he told me he had bought the Apache."
Barnes is a charter pilot in Aiken, and was looking to hire Showalter. "I was thinking about hiring him to fly for me, and he was looking forward to doing that and in the mean time he bought this airplane."
Friends say, Showalter was an experienced pilot, and one who will be missed. "You hate for those things to happen. The aviation community is a small group. We all know each other, and it's kind of like a family member when one goes down," he says.
Showalter was a flight instructor with a commercial license. He also worked as an air traffic controller for many years.
Monday, Nov. 25, 2013
EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- The pilot of the twin engine plane that crashed near the Twin Lakes Airport is dead.
Edgefield County coroner Thurmond Burnett identifies the pilot as 56-year-old Richard Showalter from Graniteville.
Showwalter was also a flight instructor.
The National Transportation Safety Board as well as the FAA have been notified and will be investigating the crash.
Early indications by witness accounts seem to point to some type of engine failure while in flight. Edgefield County EMA says that they are currently working with that as a possibility for the crash. The investigation by the NTSB will be determining the official cause.
The coroner says an autopsy is set for later today in Newberry, S.C.
Monday, Nov. 25, 2013
EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- A small one-person plane has crashed near Graniteville, the fire department confirms.
The crash happened near the Twin Lakes Airport off Bettis Academy Road in Trenton, according to the fire department. The plane was found on Rachel Avenue. No homes were hit.
No word on injuries.
Have information or an opinion about this story? Click here to contact the newsroom.
Copyright WRDW-TV News 12. All rights reserved. This material may not be republished without express written permission.