CHESTER — The two people killed when a plane crashed in a wooded area in Chester County on Monday afternoon were a U.S. Marine from Florida and a North Carolina woman, officials said Tuesday.
The single-engine aircraft was found at approximately 4 p.m. near the Broad River, 10 miles south of the Chester-Catawba Regional Airport, said Eddie Murphy, director of Chester County Emergency Management.
The plane's occupants were identified Tuesday morning as Ericson Davis, 24, a U.S. Marine from Florida, and Anisa Rossi, 22, who was originally from Rhode Island but had been living in Wilmington, N.C., Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker said. Both died from injuries suffered in the crash.
The S.C. Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, which investigated the crash with the help of other agencies, said the plane took off from Wilmington and made a stop in Brunswick, N.C. It was on its way to Hartsville, Ga. - most likely to refuel - when it was reported missing.
The plane's ultimate destination was Heaven's Landing - a small runway in Rabun County in northeastern Georgia.
The single-engine aircraft was reported missing late Sunday night, said Lt. Robert McCullough with S.C. Department of Natural Resources, which helped coordinate the search that started Monday morning. McCullough said he had been told that the plane was a rental aircraft.
The plane was most recently registered to Warriors to Wings Aero Club, said Lt. Col. Chris Peterson of the Civil Air Patrol.
Several planes were involved in an aerial search in Chester County that picked up a radio emergency signal from the downed plane, Peterson said. A seven-person ground team from Columbia then combed the area and eventually found the plane and the passengers.
Searchers "marveled" when they found the plane in such a densely wooded area. "It was meant to be found," he said.
The aircraft's emergency signal only provided a radio signal, Peterson said, which necessitated an exhaustive search. Planes equipped with more modern technology can send out distress signals that provide geographic coordinates and more exact information to emergency rescuers.
The Civil Air Patrol worked with officials from DNR, Chester County's Emergency Department and the Chester County Sheriff's Office to coordinate the search and rescue.
Anna Douglas 803-329-4068; Jie Jenny Zou 803-329-4062