Ejected co-pilot's body found in Tennessee

March 30, 2013 at 10:39 PM
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CLEVELAND, Tenn., March 30 (UPI) -- The body of a co-pilot who plummeted to his death after being ejected from a small plane was found Saturday, authorities said.

The name of the middle-age man had not been released, WRCB-TV, Chattanooga, reported.

The TV station said the victim had recently purchased the single-engine plane and was taking lessons from a more-experienced pilot Friday when the canopy blew off at an altitude of 2,500 feet and he was pulled out of the aircraft. The other pilot landed the plane without injury.

Searchers concentrated on an area of Bradley County where the pilot's cellphone was last detected and came across a hat they believed had been in the plane, the TV station said.

"That led us to believe we were definitely in the right area and we were going to have success today," Bradley County Fire and Rescue Chief Troy Spence said.

An air crew spotted the body on the ground about 11:30 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what caused the accident.

"The canopy malfunctioned and came off the aircraft and as a result, one of the two pilots aboard was ejected from the aircraft," Bradley County Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Gault said.

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