CONGERVILLE — Federal Aviation Administration investigators are trying to determine what led to the crash of a single-engine plane that killed a Congerville man late Saturday night in Indiana.
George P. Irick Jr., 68, was traveling alone in his single-engine Cessna when it crashed in Warren County, Ind., said Maj. Jim Griggs, vice commander of the Civil Air Patrol in Illinois. Officials believe the plane departed from Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday morning en route to Peoria.
Officials also believe the plane was planning to refuel in Danville, Ill., but it dropped off radar late Saturday. Officials with the Danville-based Vermilion County sheriff’s office notified their counterparts in Warren County in Indiana 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.
The crash site is near West Lebanon, Ind., about 12 miles northeast of Danville.
Emergency workers from the Warren County sheriff’s office, the Indiana State Police, the West Lebanon Fire Department and local volunteers searched for six hours in “rugged terrain of trees, ravines and fences.” Civil Air Patrol, Warren County EMS, American Red Cross and the Warren County coroner’s office also assisted in the incident.
Warren County Sheriff Bill Miller said the wreckage was found in a remote part of the county thanks to an aerial search.
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“There weren’t any houses around and so it would have been hard for anyone to have heard anything,” he said.
The search was called off due to difficulty and resumed about 8 a.m. Sunday, officials said. Indiana State Police sent up a helicopter to get an aerial view, and after about 20 minutes, the downed plane was located, officials said.
“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,” Sgt. Kim Riley of the Warren County sheriff’s office, said in the statement.
About 50 people were called out for the search.
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and FAA investigators did not release any potential cause for the crash Monday.
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.