Jonesville man ID’d as pilot killed in crash

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2001

The Associated Press

BELLE CHASSE, La. – A boater cruising the Intracoastal Waterway on Thursday morning spotted the body of a Jonesville pilot whose small airplane had crashed into the water Tuesday night.

Authorities recovered the body of George Keeth after it was found about 7 a.m., said Maj. John Marie of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office. Keeth was the only person aboard the single-engine Piper Saratoga when it went down. Most of the wreckage has been recovered and federal agencies were examining it, looking for clues to what caused the crash, Marie said.

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Workers used a huge crane Wednesday to recover the crumpled remains of the plane.

Authorities believe Keeth’s plane slammed into a power pole and burst into flames before landing in the waterway. The pilot was probably thrown out when the plane hit the steel pole, Marie said.

”The plane was extremely badly damaged,” Marie said Wednesday. ”It’s amazing how he maneuvered to miss live wires, but actually hit the pole.”

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

The Coast Guard said the plane was en route to Belle Chasse from Jonesville, when it crashed about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.