The pilot, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, was identified as William P. Shaver, 66.
Initial reports indicated that the single engine plane was attempting to land in a cove, clipped power lines and went down in Weiss Lake. Rescue efforts were initially stalled because of the dangerous situation created by the downed power lines, according to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver.
Tennessee Valley Authority terminated power to the lines to allow emergency crews to safely access the scene of the crash.
The pilot, according to Beverly Daniel, director, Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency, was the only one on board at the time and unfortunately did not survive the crash.
According to reports, the pilot left Guntersville in the small one-engine, four seater plane this morning enroute to visit friends in this area, Daniel said.
The crash took place in the main river channel in approximately eight to 10 feet of water, Daniel said. As of mid-afternoon Saturday, the plane remain submerged, upside down, securely tied to a stump until it can be safely removed.
Early reports indicated that fuel leaking into the lake was minimal and not enough to cause an environmental hazard.
Divers with the Cherokee County Rescue Squad removed the body from the submerged plane around 12:18 p.m. Saturday, Shaver said. Emergency crews remained on the scene for several hours after Cherokee County E911 Dispatch reported the crash at approximately 9:50 a.m.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene along with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee County, Piedmont, and Fisher Rescue Squads, Cherokee Emergency Medical Services, Cherokee County Emergency Management Association, Alabama Marine Police, and the Alabama State Trooper Aviation Unit who assisted in recovery efforts, Shaver said.
Sheriff Shaver, on behalf of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, Rescue Squad, Fire and EMS personnel and citizens of Cherokee County, to extended “our deepest heartfelt condolences to all the family and friends of the pilot, Mr. William P. Shaver, in the wake of this tragic accident.”
Initial reports indicated that some 3,500 Cherokee Electric Cooperative customers were without power because of the downed line. Power has been restored by bypassing the downed line which crews killed until TVA can make the necessary repairs, reports said.
More information will be released as it becomes available.
““We just ask everybody to stay out of the area right now,” said Daniel “We don’t know how long it is going to take to get the power lines restored. Just kind of bear with us.”