South Carolina

UPDATE: Small plane crashes near Columbia Metropolitan Airport

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC – A small private plane crashed into a pond after taking off from Columbia Metropolitan Airport toward Asheville Saturday morning.

Officials say they can’t confirm if anyone was on board beyond the pilot. They said they don’t know the pilot’s status.

The small, single-engine plane is partially submerged in a pond on private property on Collumwood Circle, off Old Barnwell Road, near West Columbia. Officials have indefinitely blocked off Old Barnwell Road at both ends of Collumwood Circle, which loops off Old Barnwell.

The crash site is near the Pine Grove Softball Complex, which is where emergency officials held a midday press conference.

They said they got their information from officials in the tower at Columbia Metropolitan, not from witnesses.

The plane took off at 9:15 a.m., according to airport spokeswoman Kaela Harmon. At 9:20 a.m., the airport’s public safety department received an alert and was on stand-by.

Shortly afterward, the tower lost contact, Harmon said.

The airport functioning as usual, officials said.

County Emergency Director Joe Mergo was at the press conference, as were officials from the county fire, EMS and sheriff departments. State health officials were also there but saw no public health threat, officials said.

Airport officials were joined by the Federal Aviation Authority. The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation and is expected to provide more information later.

Lexington County’s Firestation 19 is nearby, and there are many small ponds in the area.