HARTWELL, Ga. — A single-engine plane crashed into Lake Hartwell around 12:30 p.m. Saturday near Anderson Regional Airport in Anderson, S.C., not too far from the Georgia border that Lake Hartwell covers, the FAA said in a release.
According to Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland, an underwater drone was sent in on Sunday and authorities were able to confirm that the pilot is dead.
Cleveland said the plane, which landed upside down, is stuck in trees about 120 feet underwater. They haven't been able to get into the cockpit. Authorities said the only divers who can attempt that depth are out of Oconee County, South Carolina.
The single-engine aircraft was a Beechcraft B55 Baron, according to the FAA. The sheriff said it was coming from Florida and circled the airport in Anderson, South Carolina but for some reason didn’t land.
After the plane circled the lake area, the sheriff said it crashed.
There were four boats with fishers in sight of the crash. Witnesses marked the area and waited for authorities to get there.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the incident.
Lake Hartwell is a man-made body of water whose 56,000 acres spans much of Georgia encompassing parts of the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Seneca rivers. It can be seen just off of Interstate-85 between the Georgia and South Carolina border. The airport is approximately 25 minutes from the Georgia border.
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