published Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Officials in West TN find missing airplane, pilot

COVINGTON, Tenn. — A pilot from Ohio was seriously injured Wednesday when a single-engine plane crashed in West Tennessee, officials said.

Kent Wingate, 62, contacted air controllers at about 11 a.m. and told them he planned to land at Covington Municipal Airport, about 45 miles northeast of Memphis, Tipton County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Billy Daugherty said.

Shortly afterward, Wingate again contacted air controllers to tell them he was running out of fuel and would not make it to the runway, Daugherty said.

Authorities then began a ground and air search for the plane. Daugherty said the Piper PA28 was found Wednesday afternoon in a heavily wooded area in neighboring Lauderdale County, near the Hatchie River. The plane was found with its nose down in some trees, Daugherty said.

Emergency crews removed Wingate, a retired Air Force member from Xenia, Ohio, from the plane. Federal officials said the plane departed from Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport in Ohio.

Wingate was flown to a hospital in Memphis. Officials could not immediately say what type of injuries he suffered.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

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