UPDATE | Pilot and passenger identified in McDuffie County plane accident

Published: Dec. 3, 2016 at 12:06 PM EST
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Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016

THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The pilot of a plane that crashed on the Thomson-McDuffie County airport has been identified.

The McDuffie County Sheriff's Office said when emergency services personnel arrived at the crash site on Friday, Dec. 2, they made contact with Ricky Baxter, 58, who said he was the pilot of the crashed Piper aircraft. The crash happened around 6:35 p.m. Friday.

Investigators said Baxter told emergency personnel the aircraft was running low on fuel and he was gliding the aircraft as he approached the runway. The aircraft made contact with the navigation equipment structure which is located at the East end of the runway.

The passenger in the plane was Baxter's wife, Patricia, according to McDuffie County Fire Chief, Bruce Tanner.

An incident report states the couple is from Pickens, South Carolina. The plane they were in was a four passenger Piper PA28-180.

According to the sheriff's office, there were no reported injuries and the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will conduct any additional investigation.

Monday, Dec. 5, 2016

THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Thomson-McDuffie Fire Department notified the FAA that a Piper PA-28 aircraft collided with the approach lights while landing at Thomson-McDuffie County airport at 7 p.m. Friday.

According to the FAA, an investigation has been launched and theNTSB will determine what caused the accident.

The pilot and passenger on the plane survived.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016

THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A pilot and passenger walk away from a plane crash unharmed near Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport.

McDuffie County Dispatch says they responded to a call regarding a plane crash at the airport around 6:30 p.m. Friday night. Dispatch says the pilot was a citizen with a pilot's license flying a private plane. McDuffie Emergency Services say the pilot and passenger were a man and a woman.

A spokesperson with McDuffie County's Engine Company 2 says the plane ran out of fuel and was flying in low when he approached the runway.

During his approach, the pilot struck an instrument-landing system (ILS) at the end of the runway. An ILS is a small tower that enables planes to land if the pilots are unable to establish visual contact with the runway through radio signals.

Upon impact, both wings and the landing gear broke away and there was significant damage to the outer parts of the plane. The center was still in tact with only small damage to the front. The damaged plane remains near the runway.

Both the pilot and passenger were evaluated at the scene and released with no injuries. The runway remained open as firefighters responded to the scene.

We were able to reach the owner of the aircraft and he said he was not involved in the crash. He declined to comment citing the ongoing investigation.

Stay with News 12 NBC 26 for more updates in this developing story.