Witness Says Plane 'Flew Straight Up Into Clouds'
A Piper PA-28 Archer went down
Monday in Tennessee's Claiborne County, in a wooded area about 35
miles northeast of Knoxville.
The Claiborne County Sheriff's Office identified the pilot as
58-year-old Larry Sanders of Wapakanetas, OH according to
Knoxville's WVLT Channel 8. Sanders reportedly was enroute from
Ohio to Pigeon Forge, TN. The aircraft is registered to an Ohio
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Les Dorr confirmed the
single fatality but released few other details about the crash near
the Tennessee-Kentucky-Virginia state line.
Circumstances of the crash were not yet known, according to
Dorr, but an FAA investigation has been launched.
David Breeding, local director of Homeland Security, said of a
witness report, "He saw the plane come down out of the clouds, it
was sputtering a little bit, like it was in trouble, and as he
watched, it didn't climb high enough to make it over this ridge
area here." The sheriff said the plane was running when it made
Another witness told the media it appeared the pilot was trying
to make it to a nearby field for an emergency landing and crashed
just a few yards from that field.
According to Knoxville's WBIR, witnesses reported the plane
"circling the area a few times, flew straight up into the clouds,"
then "came crashing down into the trees." These witnesses called
911 and assisted rescuers by guiding them to the scene of the
crash. But the pilot was already dead.
"We had some calls come into the 911 center that there was a
plane in distress and then they called back and said that it had
crashed," said Breeding. "When we got down here, we immediately
began to search the area and found one victim in the plane."
"It looked like it was pretty high to me when I first saw it,"
said witness T.J. Harrell.
"When it came this way, it was coming down, but when it got
quiet, I thought, 'Well, he's okay,' but within three seconds I
heard the crash," Harrell said.