CONGERVILLE – A pilot from Congerville was killed when his plane, reported missing late Saturday night, crashed in central Indiana, according to a statement from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities on Sunday night identified the pilot as George P. Irick Jr, 68. According to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the single-engine Cessna departed from Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday morning bound for Peoria. The plane was expected to refuel in Danville.
But, it dropped off radar later on Saturday and officials with the Danville-based Vermilion County Sheriff’s Office notified their counterparts in Warren County around 10:30 p.m. “of a possible downed plane in the area of CR 450 south and CR 400 west,” according to the statement from Warren County.
Emergency workers from the county sheriff’s office, the Indiana State Police, the West Lebanon (Ind.) Fire Department and local volunteers searched for six hours in “rugged terrain of trees, ravines and fences.”
The search was called off due to difficulty and resumed about 8 a.m. Sunday. Indiana State Police sent up a helicopter to get an aerial view, and after about 20 minutes, the downed plane was located.
“Search and rescue was guided into the location by the helicopter and arrived at the scene to find the pilot deceased. The pilot was the lone occupant,” said Sgt. Kim Riley of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in a statement.
Officials noted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSA) arrived Monday, while Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators arrived Sunday to continue the investigation.
According to Warren County Sheriff Bill Miller, the wreckage was found in a remote part of the county following the aerial search.
“There were not any houses around and so it would have been hard for anyone to have heard anything,” he said.
About 50 people were called out for the search.
Irick was appointed to the Woodford County Board of Appeals in October. He was a volunteer for the Woodford County Shooting Sports 4-H Club and was an active member of the Peoria chapter of Guns Save Life.
Departments that assisted included Warren County Sheriff’s Department, West Lebanon Fire Department, CAP, Warren County Emergency Management Service (EMS), American Red Cross and the Warren County Coroner’s Office. Warren County is located in the extreme western part of Indiana near the Illinois border.