Updated 2:20 p.m.
A Rhode Island man died at the controls of his airplane this morning near Columbus Regional Airport.
The N.C. Highway Patrol said George Howard Charteress III, flying a single-engine Beechcraft, left a Florida airport shortly before 8 a.m. heading for Rhode Island with one passenger, Richard Shawn.
Officials said Charteress was heading in to land when the plane lost power and crashed 400 yards short of the runway, about 20 yards short of a field near the end of the runway.
Shawn, 58, also of Rhode Island, suffered minor injuries. He called 911 after the plane crashed, and rescuers used his GPS coordinates to find the crash site, which was not visible from the airport or nearby Pleasant Plains Church Road. Shawn was outside the aircraft when the first rescuers arrived, and walked out of the thickly vegetated area to board an ambulance.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.
The Columbus airport is a popular stop for many private pilots due to lower fuel prices here than at many larger airfields.
Brunswick Fire, Whiteville Rescue, Whiteville Heavy Rescue, the Highway Patrol and the sheriff’s office responded to the crash.
11:30 a.m. report
The pilot of a small single engine airplane died in a crash just west of the runway at Columbus County Airport at about 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. A passenger in the plane survived and was able to walk out of the wooded area where the plane crashed. He was taken to Columbus Regional Healthcare for minor injuries by Whiteville Rescue.
Sammy Jacobs, a salvage yard operator, heard the radio call and offered to guide several of his workers to the scene. The workers were volunteers of Brunswick Fire Department. Jacobs heard the passenger of the plane calling for help and made his way through a densely wooded area to the scene. He returned to Pleasant Plains Church Road and flagged down first responders.
The pilot is from out of state. He will be identified pending notification of kin.