Stunt pilot dies after plane crash in Cherokee National Forest

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- UPDATE
After searching for hours, rescue crews found a missing plane that left Indiana with a well known stunt pilot at the controls.

Jim Maroney, was a stunt pilot who was headed to a show in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

He was supposed to make a stop in Georgia, but his plane disappeared last night near Calderwood Dam.

"Being an aviator myself and having to search for an aircraft that went down is always tough," says Sgt. Tony Chamberlain, pilot for the KSCO Aviation Unit.

He and his copilot were called out to find the missing plane.

Monday morning, they found it in the mountains of the Cherokee National Forrest.

Maroney found dead in the wreckage.

"We were able to hear the ELT on the aircraft going off we did a grid search to try and narrow it down to where it was it took us about 30 minutes we located the wreckage on the side of a ridge."

On Monday, crews had the difficult task of trying to remove Maroney's body.

"It's on the south side of a ridge and the north side of the mountain in a very difficult position," says Chamberlain.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Department was leading the search, Sheriff Bill Bivens says it was a team effort.

"We try and go safety first with anything we do like this," he says.

Which also makes it difficult for investigators. The NTSB says it could be several days before they figure out what caused the crash.

"We are going to do our best to try and make it to the wreckage site which is in very rugged terrain," says Ralph Hicks, with the NTSB.

"We will take a look at all the flight controls, the cock-pit, take a look inside the engine, we're going to be doing all that in the next couple of days."

"They've stayed out all night, some didn't even make it to bed last night so we appreciate all those folks," says Sheriff Bivens.

From then it's been a team effort, these crews hoped for different outcome.

"It's always hard to lose someone like this tragically and our condolences."

Maroney was a well known pilot, he helped Tom Cruise in the movie 'Top Gun' and had been flying for 38 years.



Rescue crews have found wreckage Monday morning from a missing plane in Monroe County.

Officials have confirmed the pilot is dead.

They say it'll take a while to get to the pilot's body because he is pinned.

The plane was reported missing late Sunday evening.

Crews say they had to stop the search late Sunday because of dangerous conditions.

The FAA says an alert had originally been issued for the Dehavilland DHC-1 aircraft that in an area adjacent to Calderwood Lake.

It was reported when the two-seat plane did not reach its intended destination, the Franklin County Airport in Canon, Georgia.

The vintage aircraft departed French Lick, Indiana with one person on board. The flight was flying on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and not receiving air traffic control service.


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