VALDOSTA — Officials have confirmed that Rick Poppell, 52, a well known businessman from Jesup, Ga., died when his private plane went down in a heavily forested area late Monday evening in south Lowndes County.
Lowndes County officials and members of the Civil Air Patrol worked through the night and finally spotted the wreckage around 11 a.m. Tuesday in an area off Highway 41 S. between Dasher and Lake Park. Poppell reportedly died in the crash, and investigators from the FAA are on site.
The search began late Monday night for the aircraft after the pilot took off from the Valdosta Airport and phoned in that he was in trouble. That was the last communication with the aircraft, shortly after 8 p.m. Monday. The wreckage was located after authorities were able to use cell phone data to approximate the location.
The VDT will continue to update this story as soon as more information becomes available.