ETOWAH CO., Ala. (WBRC) - A search and rescue effort to locate a plane that went missing in Etowah Co Thursday evening, has ended after both the aircraft and the body of the pilot were found Saturday morning.
The pilot has been identified as 76-year old William “Bill” Elliot McClain, of Acworth Georgia.
The plane was reported missing Thursday evening after it disappeared from radar near the New Union and Egypt Community.
According to the pilot’s brother, Gary Mcclain of Arkansas, Bill had built the plane, a Zenith CH750, over the last few years and was planning to fly to Arkansas to celebrate his 77th birthday with his brothers on September 15.
It appears the plan was to do a test flight from Georgia to Tupelo, MS and refuel and return to Georgia. Tupelo was the halfway point and refueling location on Bill’s intended flight to celebrate his birthday with his brothers. According to officials, the aircraft appeared to reached Tupelo, however, it circled the airport without fueling and went back the direction it came before disappearing from the radar over a wooded area in Etowah Co around 12:47 p.m. Thursday.
Starting Thursday night, search and rescue personnel from various jurisdictions and organizations conducted air and ground search in a concentrated area between Lawson Gap Road and Lackey Gap Road near Aurora Lake.
The crash site was located around 10:26 a.m. behind a residence in the 200 block of Old Baker Gap Road in a heavily wooded area.
The investigation into the cause of the crash and removal of the aircraft will be combined, continued efforts of the FAA and the NTSB.
Officials say they do not suspect foul play.