48ºF

Pilot killed when small plane hits transmission line, crashes in Clay County

Power has been restored; federal investigators to arrive Friday

LAKE ASBURY, Fla. – Power crews investigating why power went out to about 6,000 customers of Clay Electric Thursday evening found that a small plane had crashed into power lines in a densely wooded area off County Road 218.

The plane went down about 1½ miles off the highway near Shadowlawn Elementary School. Clay County Fire Rescue said the plane hit a transmission line and caught fire. The Florida Highway Patrol said the pilot was the only person on board and died in the crash.

"Due to the extreme damage and injuries to this aircraft, it's a very large debris field," FHP Sgt. Dylan Bryan said. "(The crews) went ahead and notified the Clay County Sheriff's Office of what they found and we were subsequently notified after that."

Bryan said the single-engine plane took off from Haller Airpark, south of Green Cove Springs, at 5:15 p.m. It's unclear exactly when the wreckage was discovered and when the crash occurred. Bryan said troopers were notified about 7:52 p.m.

The FHP believes the pilot was a resident of Haller, a landing strip and residential area south of Green Cove Springs. They were trying to make a positive identification and notify family.

It's unclear what led to the crash. Crews were at the scene throughout the night. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at the scene Friday morning.

According to Clay Electric, about 6,000 homes were affected at the height of the outage. By 8:30 p.m., the utility's outage map showed all power was restored.


About the Authors:

Erik Avanier

Award-winning broadcast and multimedia journalist with 20 years experience.