HART COUNTY, GA. (WSPA) – A plane that crashed into Lake Hartwell over the weekend is still underwater.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told 7News it “is working with a salvage company and the insurance company on recovery efforts.” A spokesperson said they do no have an estimated time on when the plane will be removed.
The Federal Aviation Administration said a Beechcraft B55 crashed near Anderson Regional Airport around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Hart County Sheriff’s Office said the plane was flying from Florida. Only the pilot was on board, according to the FAA.
“They [witnesses] said the plane circled, then spiraled straight down into the lake and disappeared within just a few seconds,” said Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland.
Search teams were centered on one location of the lake for hours Sunday. Cleveland said divers used underwater cameras to locate the plane 120-feet below. But, he said crews ran into trouble bringing it back to the surface because the plane is tangled in trees at the bottom of the lake.
“The plane is in the trees,” said Cleveland. “I’ve been told the plane flipped over. The top is on the bottom. The doors to the plane are jammed so we’re not able to retrieve the body out of the plane.”
As dive teams worked in the water, several people, including Summer Strickland, gathered on the shore to watch.
“It’s just devastating,” said Strickland. “You don’t expect things like that to happen around here.”
“On this side of the lake, this is our first plane that has gone down into the water,” added Cleveland. “It just so happened it’s in one of the deepest part of the lake.”
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash and will provide updates as soon as more information becomes available.