GLASGOW, Ky. (WKRN) — Wreckage from a helicopter crash was discovered Monday after a nearly two-day-long search for a missing pilot who took off from St. Louis and planned to stop for fuel in Glasgow, KY, before reaching his final destination in Knoxville. The pilot never arrived, and he did not survive the crash.
David Stone was an Army pilot and a retired airline pilot, according to friends. He went to St. Louis to pick up a helicopter his friend just bought.
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Despite his flying experience, people who met Stone in St. Louis told News 2 they did everything they could to try to convince him not to take off Saturday, because of the bad weather.
Stone’s helicopter crashed before making it to the Glasgow airport.
Several local and state agencies helped with the search beginning Sunday afternoon, including many local pilots who volunteered to look for Stone.
“The flying community kind of got word there’s a pilot overdue for Glasgow airport Saturday evening,” Calvin Wiley, a pilot from Glasgow said. “Yesterday it was kind of slow getting the word out, but today things are starting to get mobilized.”
Wiley, other pilots, and the Civil Air Patrol conducted grid searches from the air, focusing on the area where Stone’s iPad last pinged near the Warren County/Edmonson County line.
“Late summer, everything is so thick, and this is a small, dark-colored helicopter,” Wiley said. “Unless [the helicopter] is out in an open field or something from the air, it’s going to be extremely difficult to see with the full foliage out here in Mammoth Cave.”
Edmonson County and Barren County crews searched the roads, including paths to the airport, with no luck.
On Monday, Wiley and other pilots searched from the ground near the Mammoth Cave National Park after receiving at least three tips from eyewitnesses, including a deer hunter, who said they saw Stone’s blue Jetexec flying low near the Pig Community in Kentucky around 4:40 pm Saturday evening.
“The weather was pretty poor during that time in the area,” Wiley said. “We had low ceiling and rain moving through in different spots.”
The wreckage was discovered Monday afternoon, but officials would not confirm the location.
Glasgow and Barren County Emergency Management director, Marcus Thurman told News 2 Stone did not survive the crash, and his family had been notified.