An Owensboro pilot who was last reported taking off from the Falls of Rough airport was killed in a plane crash this week.
The crash site of the plane was discovered in Hancock County on Wednesday afternoon, June 1.
The Kentucky State Police, Civil Air Patrol, and numerous emergency responder agencies spent two days searching for an Owensboro airplane (a 2012 Green Aero Criquet Bogota fixed wing plane) and its pilot, Robert Dalzell, Jr., 70, who was last reported departing from the Falls of Rough airport on Monday morning, May 30.
Kentucky State Troopers said Dalzell left the Owensboro Regional Airport on Monday around 9:10 a.m.
Dalzell successfully landed at the Falls of Rough airport at 9:45 a.m. and departed from the Falls of Rough airport at 11:20 a.m. but never returned to the Owensboro airport.
Kentucky State Police (KSP) say his last cell phone activity ping was at 11:32 a.m. and was within five miles of the Falls of Rough airport.
According to KSP Trooper Corey King, at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, a helicopter flying near the Hancock/Breckinridge County line spotted what appeared to be suspicious debris.
At 5:35 p.m. on Wednesday, KSP detectives confirmed the debris discovered in thick woods roughly two miles off Hopewell Church Road in the Fordsville community of Hancock County was the plane that was reported missing.
The land in which the plane was found is primarily used for hunting, King said.
The Hancock County Coroner removed the pilot’s body from the crashed plane, and the body was sent to Louisville for an autopsy to be performed on Thursday morning, June 2.
At 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 3, the Hancock County Coroner’s Office, with the assistance of the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office, confirmed via dental records that the body discovered at the crash site was Dalzell.
Investigators removed the plane’s engine to further investigate what may have caused the crash, according to King.
While it will likely be many months before investigators determine what caused the crash, King said, investigators typically search for a mechanical and/or pilot error or a medical issue with the pilot.
King commended Ernie Perkins, of Grayson County Emergency Management, for coordinating a search for Dalzell, as well as the local community for volunteering its time to contribute to the search.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.