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Wed, Feb 21, 2007

Plane Crash Mystery Surfaces In Louisiana Swamp

Wreckage May Be From Drug Plane

A businessman stumbled onto something quite unexpected during a recent hunting trip near the Atchafalaya River in southern Louisiana: the wreckage of a small aircraft.

"I was beating the bushes for rabbits," Harold Schoeffler told the Acadiana Advocate, when he came across the wreckage near a canal. He says he found what appeared to be part of an airplane, but he wasn't certain until he discovered the plane's fuselage and floats 100 feet apart.

"The wings are broken off. The plane burned," Schoeffler said of his February 11 discovery. "You can see the path of plane parts where it came through the trees."

Federal investigators were very interested in Schoeffler's discovery... as neither the FAA nor NTSB have any record of a crash in that area.

"I haven’t been able to find any lead on it," said NTSB regional aviation safety director Hector Casanova, who is now pouring over records of missing planes from the past 30 years.

Casanova added there may be a very good reason the wreck wasn't reported... as it could have been a drug-smuggling plane.

Schoeffler said the wreckage appeared to be from a white Cessna 180 floatplane, though he wasn't able to identify a registration number or other identifying characteristics due to the degree of damage, and the fact most of the plane is mired in the swamp.

"It would have never been seen, but I was rabbit hunting and walking through the bushes," he said, adding he did not see any obvious sign of human remains in the area.



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