December 10, 2006
Virginia State Police have confirmed Christopher Desch, 51 of Richmond, was instantly killed when the plane crashed. He was the only person onboard the six-seater Piper Lance.
“At about 1:26, I think a call came in that there was a plane in distress. Then the next few moments later the plane had crashed,” said Sgt. David Cooper with the Virginia State Police.
The site of the crash is located in a remote area around the 3000 block of Proffit Road near Riverview Farm.
“They were driving at least a mile, if not two miles, through farm property to get to it. So again it was challenging, to get there,” said Lee Catlin, Albemarle County Spokesperson.
Firefighters from Stoney Point, Earlysville, Seminole Trail and the Albemarle County Rescue Department were some crews who showed up to put out the blaze.
“They were able to extinguish the fire in about thirty minutes, unfortunately there was a single fatality on the plane,” said Catlin.
According to the FAA the pilot did call the control tower at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport and let them know he was having trouble.
“He called the Charlottesville airport and requested permission to land. He was given a runway to land on, moments later he called in with a distress that the engine had cutoff,” said Cooper.
Witnesses saw the plane crash directly into trees and burst into flames.
“It was a very devastating crash the plane came down in a wooded area and there was very significant impact and fire as well, so it was unfortunately a very devastating crash,” said Catlin.
The FAA and NTSB will be conducting investigations.
Desch was the National Medical Director of National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a not-for-profit alliance of cancer centers.