Pilot killed in Thomson plane crash ‘just loved life to the max’

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2021 at 7:09 PM EDT
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THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Cleanup continued last week in Thomson where a plane crashed and killed two people.

We were there as crews used bulldozers and cranes to remove what was left of the wreck on Friday. Authorities say the cargo plane went down Tuesday morning while trying to land at the Thomson-McDuffie County Airport. The two pilots on board were killed in the crash.

We’re learning more about those pilots. Raymond Bachman and Claude Duchesne both had experience in the air. Bachman was from Arizona, Duchesne from Texas.

We talked to a friend of Bachman who says flying was his life.

The final piece of the crashed plane, the plane’s fuselage, was cleaned up Friday. Crews loaded that up onto a trailer and they’re now gonna send it off to a warehouse in Griffin, Georgia, where federal investigators will take a closer look. It’s been days since this crash, and for friends of the pilots, it’s still hard to process.

“Flying was basically his life,” said Robert Cordero.

Cordero is sad to lose his close friend. Flying brought them together 15 years ago.

“Claude just loved flying. He’s been flying for as long as I’ve known him, and I think he’s been flying for over 30 years,” he said.

With all that experience – why did this plane go down?

The federal investigation is moving forward. A crew spent a few hours Friday at the site of the crash. They were taking the final piece of the plane away with the goal of keeping it intact as much as possible. Now investigators will have a chance to study it at the warehouse in Griffin.

During their flight, Duchesne and Bachman ran into a severe weather system near Atlanta. At about that time, their cargo flight started losing altitude quickly. While it will take time for the investigation to wrap up, Cordero knows flying can be dangerous.

“Anytime you hop in a plane it’s a little risky,” he said.

He’ll miss the good times he had with his friend.

“He just loved life to the max and he had a lot of plans, lot of things, places he wanted to go, and we’re gonna miss him big time,” he said.

Federal investigators say the preliminary report could be ready about a week from now. The final report could take up to two years.

Plane crash cleanup
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