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Firefighter sonar exercise finds lost plane in Lake Norman

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/21/17/51/Xtjy7.Em.138.jpeg|316
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    Charlotte Fire Department sonar image of a plane lying on the bottom of Lake Norman. During a training exercise on September 5 while testing a side-scan sonar unit on the lake, Charlotte firefighters spotted a crisp image of a small plane in the lake's main channel, near the Mecklenburg-Iredell line. Charlotte Fire Department divers found no evidence of human remains in the fuselage. CHARLOTTE FIRE DEPARTMENT
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/21/17/51/KYKYO.Em.138.jpeg|181
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    Charlotte Fire Department sonar image of a plane lying on the bottom of Lake Norman. During a training exercise on September 5 while testing a side-scan sonar unit on the lake, Charlotte firefighters spotted a crisp image of a small plane in the lake's main channel, near the Mecklenburg-Iredell line. Charlotte Fire Department divers found no evidence of human remains in the fuselage. CHARLOTTE FIRE DEPARTMENT

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Firefighters sailed into a deep mystery this month during a training exercise on Lake Norman.

On Sept. 5, while using a side-scan sonar unit on the 306-square-mile, man-made lake, Charlotte firefighters spotted an anomaly on the murky bottom – a crisp image of a small plane.

Charlotte Fire Department divers suited up and dove to the object, nearly 100 feet below the surface. There was no evidence of human remains in the fuselage, Charlotte Fire Capt. Robert Brisley said Saturday.

Information about the single-engine plane, including its tail number, was turned over the Federal Aviation Administration, which is searching records to determine the plane’s owner.

Brisley said the wreckage was found in the lake’s main channel, near the Mecklenburg-Iredell line. It was not clear how long the plane had been there.

Observer archives show at least one aircraft has been lost and never recovered since Norman was created in the early 1960s – a small seaplane that sank in the south end of the 34-mile-long lake in the late 1970s.

A U.S. Air Force plane crashed into the mud near Duke Power State Park in 1964, killing the pilot. And in 2010, a single-engine Beech F33A crashed in about 50 feet of water near the park, but the pilot was not hurt. Both aircraft were later recovered.

Washburn: 704-358-5007.
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