Officials have now identified a pilot killed when his homebuilt aircraft crashed in a Chesterfield County swamp Thursday.
The county Coroner’s Office said 59-year-old Walker Jeter is an Atlanta, Ga., native who was the only person aboard the experimental Rocket II plane at the time. Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks told reporters that some nearby farmers saw the plane go down around 10:15 a.m. Thursday, but it required an aerial search to find the wreckage in the dense swamp of the Pee Dee River.
“With the help of a helicopter, some debris was found right on the Pee Dee in some of the thickest swamp in the county,” Brooks said during a press conference Thursday. “The plane was located a couple hours later.”
A team from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are on-scene investigating the crash, but the sheriff warned it will be difficult to remove the wreckage from the swamp.
“The plane was upside-down and it took a while even after we reached the site to get the pilot out,” Brooks said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Jeter’s body Thursday morning.