Arrangements set for pilot killed in fatal plane crash - WNCT

Arrangements set for pilot killed in fatal plane crash

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KENANSVILLE, N.C. -

Funeral arrangements are set for a Camp Lejeune Marine killed earlier this week in a plane crash.

Major Luke Parker's plane crashed Sunday, just 30 miles from where he took off from Albert J Ellis Airport in Richlands.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

A service to remember Parker will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville  on Gum Branch Road.

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Federal agents are investigating a fatal plane crash in Duplin County that killed a Camp Lejeune Marine.

Sources say Luke Parker took off from Albert J. Ellis Airport in Richlands on Sunday, but his plane dropped off the radar and never made it to his destination.

The pilot was going to a funeral in Detroit, Michigan, said Rob McDuffie, Duplin County Emergency Management director.

Parker's single engine plane, a Focke Wulf 149, crashed in the woods next to a dirt path near Best Road in Kenansville, just two miles from the Duplin County Airport. Civil Air Patrol search crews found his airplane around 10 PM Monday.

"I'm very sorry about that Marine, he died like that. You know, he's the one fighting for our country, you're trying to bring stuff in. I'm sorry about that," said Deshawn Robinson, who lives in the area near the crash site.

Robinson says he was at home late Monday night when he heard what sounded like a plane crash.

Now the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating what went wrong.

"We'll be here tomorrow and also collecting some evidence and go from there," said Eric Alleyne, NTSB air safety investigator who arrived Tuesday afternoon from Atlanta to investigate.

McDuffie says the damage to the plane was severe.

"It was a wooded area, and there was a lot of contact on the way down," said McDuffie.

He suspects bad weather may have played a role in the crash.

"Perhaps he was trying to get under that fog, because he was close to the airport. I speculate he was trying to make the airport, but he couldn't get a fix on it."

McDuffie says the search began in Pender, Wayne, and Sampson counties, until transmitter signals brought crews to Duplin.

"It is heartbreaking," said McDuffie.

The pilot's body has been taken to the medical examiner's office in Greenville for an autopsy, said McDuffie.

Camp Lejeune officials have not released any information about their involvement with the crash.

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