Pilot in plane crash identified as NC man

Published: Nov. 19, 2012 at 8:18 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Divers take a helicopter to the crash area.
Divers take a helicopter to the crash area.

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - The body of a pilot from a plane that crashed into a marsh Sunday night in southwest Chatham County was located Monday afternoon.

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police said pilot David Wentz, 46, was flying from Causey, N.C., to Savannah when the plane went down. His body was located and pulled from the water just after 1 p.m.

The single-engine, 1968 Cessna 172 aircraft had been flying to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport from North Carolina on Sunday when it went missing. Officials say the last contact with the plane was at 6:55 p.m. Sunday when it was cleared for landing. After that, the plane did not land and was never heard from again.

The wreckage was located just after midnight by the U.S. Coast Guard in a marsh near the Grove River.

Search and rescue efforts by divers with the SCMPD aviation unit and marine patrol, DNR and the U.S. Coast Guard were conducted past 2:30 a.m. Monday and resumed at 8 a.m.

The FAA and NTSB confirmed that one person was on board the aircraft. The company said that Wentz began a job at Gulfsream on Oct. 29.

David Wentz is from Advance, N.C. He took a job about two weeks ago as IT Business Strategy Senior Manager for Gulfstream Aerospace. He had been staying in a temporary home while he and his wife closed on their house. They closed Nov. 3.

He is survived by his wife and two children, a 24-year-old son who is a sheriff's deputy and in the Navy reserves and a 22 year old daughter. He is also survived by his son's girlfriend Brandi Ray and her daughter MaKayla Jade Ray.

He was a Mason and a Shriner. He loved woodworking and flying. He'd been flying between one and two years. It was something he'd wanted to do since high school.

Gulfstream issued a statement: "We are saddened by the loss of our Gulfstream colleague, David Wentz. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.