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December 11, 2012

Downed plane located


Plane went down in south Lowndes County

Live Oak — A plane that was at first believed to have crashed in western Suwannee County actually crashed and was found in southern Lowndes County, according to officials.


Suwannee County dispatch received information shortly before 10 p.m. Monday night that a plane may have went down in western Suwannee County from Moody Air Force Base, who was tracking the plane after the pilot alerted the base to trouble.


The search for the plane was called off by Suwannee County Fire/Rescue after midnight Tuesday after it was learned by Moody that the possible wreck location was wrong.


Lowndes County officials and members of the Civil Air Patrol found the wreckage of the plane Tuesday afternoon by spotting it from the air off Highway 41, in the Dasher area, near the Florida and Georgia border. Officials say the pilot, Rick Poppell of Jesup, Ga., did not survive the crash, according to officials. The wreckage was located after authorities were able to use cell phone data to approximate the location. 


There were not believed to be any passengers in the aircraft. 


The pilot took off from the Valdosta Regional Airport around 7:40. Shortly after he phoned in to Moody’s approach control tower that he was in trouble, according to VRA Manager Jim Galloway. That was the last communication from the pilot.  


Kay Harris with the Valdosta Daily Times contributed to this article.

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