Plane Crashes in Georgia Lake, Stuck 120 Feet Underwater in Tangle of Tree Branches

by Emily Morgan

According to authorities, a plane with a deceased pilot inside is trapped underwater in a Georgia lake. Now, officials cannot recover the aircraft despite knowing its exact location. Per reports, the plane crash happened in the deepest part of Lake Hartwell, on the border with South Carolina. Now, the aircraft is submerged under 120 feet of water in a mass entanglement of tree branches.

The sheriff’s office also said they are reaching out to the victim’s family. However, at this time, they cannot positively identify the pilot until they retrieve the body.

In addition, authorities have not yet released the cause of the crash. However, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, before the crash, the pilot was flying “on an IFR flight plan,” meaning the pilot relied on the plane’s navigational instruments rather than any visual signals.

Pilots will often implement IFR when they cannot see clearly from the cockpit due to fog or rainstorms. In addition, meteorologists reported that on the morning of the crash, weather in the area showed wind and rain.

On Saturday morning, the Beech B55 aircraft departed from Punta Gorda, Florida, before pummeling into the lake. Just the pilot was aboard the six-seat, two-engine plane and had plans to land at an airport in South Carolina.

Captain Chris Carroll with the Harwell County Sheriff’s office later revealed that witnesses said they saw the plane circling in the air before spiraling down and crashing into the lake.

Authorities use ROV to locate pilot’s body following plane crash

Immediately after, bystanders rushed over to the plane. But, sadly, it was already sinking to the bottom of the lake. Then, on the same day, rescue divers found the plane but quickly realized they were in for a series of problems.

“It just so happened it’s in one of the deepest parts of the lake,” said Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland. He added: “The plane is in the trees. I’ve been told the plane flipped over. The top is on the bottom. The doors to the plane are jammed, so we’re not able to retrieve the body out of the plane.”

He also admitted: “As far as our resources, we’ve exhausted everything we have to be able to lift the place and get the person out.”

Carroll later revealed that lake water is extremely murky, making visibility difficult. He added that divers have to use flashlights “to be able to see anything.”

Authorities later used a remote-operated vehicle to locate the pilot’s body after the ROV got into the plane through a back window.

“They were able to push the ROV into the rear window of the plane where it can be driven through the front to try to look around in the cockpit area. At that time was when we were able to determine there was a person in the plane,” said Cleveland.

The sheriff’s office added they intend to bring the plane out of the lake on Thursday. They plan to do so with the assistance of a crane. “Once it’s lifted, we’ll have to move it to a shallow area to get the body out of it,” said Carroll.