Jesup businessman located after plane crashes south of Valdosta - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Federal officials investigate fatal plane crash

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Rick Poppell (Source: Family) Rick Poppell (Source: Family)
The Georgia State Patrol searches for the aircraft. (Source: WALB) The Georgia State Patrol searches for the aircraft. (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)

FAA and NTSB officials from Virginia arrived late Tuesday and have started their investigation into a plane crash near Valdosta.

Rick Poppell, owner of Poppell's Produce in Jesup, left the Valdosta Airport at 7:30 p.m. Monday. He told the FAA he was having problems.

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine said the plane crashed Monday night in Lake Park, Ga., which is 20 miles south of Valdosta, according to WALB-TV.

Crews had been searching since Monday night, where his cell phone signal was picked up.

The Georgia State Patrol told the FAA that at about 11:15 a.m. the wreckage Diamond Aircraft  DA40 was found in Lake Park, according to an FAA spokeswoman. Poppell's body was found just before noon near Old Lake Park Road.

"He was just the consumate man's man, an amazing business leader and community leader and church leader. I don't know how he found the time to do all the things he did for all the people that he did, but somehow he managed to do it," said Judge Gary Browning, a family friend.

Poppell was the only person on board. His body will be transported to the GBI Crime Lab on Wednesday in Macon for an autopsy.

Poppell recently took Christmas trees to the Governor's Mansion in late November. Gov. Nathan Deal issued a statement on Tuesday on Poppell's death.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.


Lake Park Plane Crash

Jesup businessman Rick Poppell is killed in a plane crash in Lake Park, Ga.

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