Plane - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Witnesses speak out about Weiss Lake plane crash

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A small engine plane crashed into a Cherokee County Lake Saturday morning, killing the pilot. The crash caused a power outage in the area because the pilot hit a main Tennessee Valley Authority power line.

According to the Cherokee County EMA, no one else was on board. The plane crashed into Weiss lake around ten o'clock Saturday morning near a busy campground. The pilot's body has been recovered although his plane is still submerged underwater.

What started out as a flight to see friends in Cherokee County, turned tragic over Weiss lake. "He was flying real low, he just barely cleared the trees." Dave McDaniel and his wife were in their boat when they saw a sea plane crash.

McDaniel says he tied a rope to the plane's tail to keep it from sinking further into the water, but the pilot could not be saved. McDaniel says "He had one of those big windshields and I guess he hit windshield first and it filled the plane up with water.

Beverly Daniel with Cherokee EMA says the plane clipped a TVA power line before it went down near Riverside Campground. Lela Tandy heard the accident happen. "When it was flying over, it sounded not quite right, like something wasn't right."

Many agencies responded to the scene as a down power line made the situation dangerous for boaters. Daniel says "There is a hazard because one of them is so low near the water, it's creating a hazard for boats and we're trying to get that resolved." Daniel also says the pilot left the Guntersville airport Saturday morning. NTSB investigators, now trying to determine what went wrong.  Tandy says "My thoughts are with his family."

At this time, the pilot's name has not been released. The plane is expected to be recovered from the water Sunday. According to Cherokee County Electric, power has been restored to a majority of those affected.

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