Search Continues At Lake Chickamauga For Missing Unnamed Pilot, Small Plane With Nothing Found On Tuesday

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Authorities continued the search on Tuesday for a small plane that went into Chickamauga Lake on Monday afternoon. The plane has still not been located in the 40-foot-deep section of the lake near Camp Vesper Point, though plane debris was found earlier.

Authorities have not given any information about the pilot of the plane.

Officials earlier said, "At 1:48 p.m., a 911 call was made reporting a possible plane crash on Lake Chickamauga. Rescue agencies from Sale Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Dallas Bay VFD and STARS responded to Hobo Bluff, which is near Lee Pike in the North Soddy Daisy area.

"Rescue crews put boats in the water around 2:15 p.m., searching for the possible plane crash location. By 2:48 p.m., rescue crews confirmed debris from a small aircraft was floating in the water and moving south very rapidly.

"Rescue personnel reported the water was very rough with 3-4 foot waves. Since the crash site consists of searching 30 feet of deep water, windy conditions and rough waters, rescue crews headed back to dry land.

"Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol and Dive Team are currently on the water searching for the rest of the small aircraft." 

The debris was located south of Camp Vesper in the main channel of Lake Chickamagua. That is just north of Possum Creek. 

A number of rescue personnel were at the scene.

Authorities said on Monday night, "Throughout the evening, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deployed several specialized divisions to aid in the search for the downed aircraft including personnel with the Criminal Investigations Division, Marine Patrol, Unmanned Aerial Systems Division (Drone), and the Forensic Dive Team. 

"HCSO Marine Patrol personnel and local rescue agencies utilized boats to search the lake for the downed aircraft and collect any debris while the HCSO UAS Division searched the lake from the air with drones. The HCSO Dive Team was also on the scene diligently using all available resources to narrow down the large search area and locate the airplane fuselage and its occupant(s). Once the aircraft is located, the search will shift to dive and recovery operations.

"The area of the lake  where the plane allegedly crashed can be as deep as 40  or more feet in some places. 

"Due to night approaching, the search has been concluded and HCSO and local rescuers will regroup and begin fresh in the morning. 

"At this time, HCSO Investigators are working to determine the type of plane, its pilot and/or any passengers, its origin and destination, and its exact location under the water. The HCSO has contacted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and made them aware of the incident. The HCSO will be investigating the plane crash in coordination with the NTSB. 

"Once the aircraft is located and salvaged, it will be secured for investigators to review." 

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