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PLANE MISSING AFTER LEAVING KNOXVILLE, CREWS SEARCHING NORTH CAROLINA WILDERNESS

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A single-engine plane took off from Knoxville’s Island Home Airport about 5:30 last evening, but has not arrived at its intended destination in Aiken, South Carolina. It was due to land around 7 p.m. Eastern Time. The Mooney  M20C aircraft was believed to have one passenger on board.

Its last-known location was in the area of Whiteside Mountain near Highlands, North Carolina. The mountain is near the Macon and Jackson county lines. Crews from both counties are engaged in the search, according to the Macon County Emergency Management Agency. Emergency crews in Macon County were notified after Atlanta air-traffic controllers lost contact with the plane.

Macon County 911 and the Federal Aviation Administration have confirmed the plane’s tail number is N6075Q, and the craft is registered to a Gary Huttleston of Aiken, South Carolina.

Air traffic controllers reported losing contact with the flight about 6:20 p.m., when it was about 17 miles south of Macon County Airport in Franklin, North Carolina. According to Macon County EMA, the area is remote and rugged, and bad weather conditions had hampered search efforts, limiting efforts to ground-only searching. Crews are following up on multiple leads in an effort to find the plane.

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