Two Killed in Long County Plane Crash - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/04/07

Two Killed in Long County Plane Crash

Chris Pontikakis saw the plane go down. Chris Pontikakis saw the plane go down.
This is a similar plane to the one the Rehil's were in This is a similar plane to the one the Rehil's were in

An Indiana couple flying their small plane to Hinesville crashed right outside the Liberty County Airport. They were coming to visit their son stationed at Fort Stewart and see their grandchild for the very first time.

The crash happened around 8pm Wednesday night, but the wreckage was not found until about 11am Thursday.

Chris Pontikakis was outside fixing his truck when he saw the plane fly over him; he said it didn't look right. "He should have been horizontal with his wings but he was completely vertical and looked like he was about to start turning upside down," said Pontikakis.

Pontikakis said he could see the planes lights, but he couldn't see any landing gear. Then just like that, the plane was gone. That's when the calls started coming into police. Because the weather was bad, the Georgia State Patrol and the Coast Guard could not get their helicopters up. Crews searched on foot throughout the night, but could find nothing. At 10:30 am Thursday morning the Georgia State Patrol was able to get their helicopter up and within 30 minutes located the wreckage, near the Liberty County Airport.

Long County Fire Chief Darrell Ballance said the crash happened in a heavily wooded, swampy area in Long County. "The wings were torn off where it had come down through the trees cut and broke the wings off," said balance.

On board the plane was Dr. Om Rehil and his wife Razi, they were coming to visit their son Vikas Rehil who is stationed at Fort Stewart and to see their new grandchild.

Vikas Rehil was at the airport waiting for his parent to arrive.

Dr. Rehil was a vascular surgeon in Marion Indiana. Friends of the Rehil's say they were beloved members of the community and will truly be missed.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com  & jertle@wtoc.com

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