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Pilot killed in crash identified as doctor

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  • Crash

    The site of a deadly plane crash is seen Friday morning at Danville Regional Airport. 

Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:09 pm | Updated: 6:08 pm, Fri Aug 30, 2013.

1:21 P.M. UPDATE

Marc Adelman, department director in the transportation services department of Danville Regional Airport, has confirmed the pilot who perished in Thursday night’s crash is Dr. Scott J. Banuelos.

Banuelos was a doctor at Danville Regional Medical Center and was also a flight student, Adelman said.

1 P.M. UPDATE

More details are expected this afternoon in Thursday's deadly plane crash.

An air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board will hold a news conference at 3 p.m.

The airport was scheduled to re-open at noon, but  section of the taxiway near the accident scene will remain closed.

Follow Allison Roberts @ARobertsGDR on Twitter for updates from the conference. 

9:45 A.M. FRIDAY UPDATE

The plane involved in the crash was owned by General Aviation in Danville, according to Virginia State Police Sgt. Bob Carpentieri.

11:29 P.M. THURSDAY UPDATE:

Virginia State Police confirm a Danville man was the victim in a deadly plane crash Thursday night at Danville Regional Airport.

"A single-engine Piper Warrior aircraft was coming in for a landing at the airport when it made a sharp left and struck an ILS tower," said Corinne N. Geller, public relations director with the Virginia State Police, in a news release.

One wing was clipped, the plane crashed to the ground near the runway and then caught fire, Geller said. The plane was completely destroyed.

The plane’s only occupant was the pilot, an adult male from Danville, who died at the scene. His remains have been transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for positive identification and examination and autopsy.

"The NTSB and FAA have both been notified," Geller said.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The pilot of a single-engine plane died in a fiery crash Thursday night at Danville Regional Airport.

A Register & Bee reporter and photographer arrived before gates were closed and walked to the scene. They were told to leave due to what Cpl. T.J. Hawkins, of the Danville Police Department, called safety concerns "heavily regulated by the FAA and state."

However, a small plane was observed at the end of the runway that accesses the airport from its southernmost point, surrounded by emergency response vehicles with flashing lights. Also seen was a Danville Life Saving Crew ambulance leaving the runway and exiting the airport without lights flashing.

At 9 p.m., Assistant Fire Chief Steve Dishman confirmed the deadly crash and ensuing fire occurred at 7:45 p.m. Thursday. Dishman said the fire quickly was extinguished by firefighters.

Dishman said the investigation had just begun, and they were not yet sure whether the plane was arriving at or leaving the airport. He also would not say whether the pilot was male or female, or release the tail numbers of the aircraft.

The investigation has been turned over to the Virginia State Police, Dishman said.

"There should be more information by morning," Dishman said.

Danville Regional Airport is undergoing a massive, $9.5 million renovation, paid for by the Federal Aviation Authority. There were no signs of construction taking place at the site of the crash.

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