A woman was killed and her husband injured when their single-engine airplane crashed into trees while trying to land at the Siler City Airport on Tuesday morning, officials said.
Frederick Calvin Para and his wife, Barbara Harris Para, of Whispering Pines were aboard a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 that crashed shortly before 8 a.m., according to state officials. Barbara Para, 69, later died at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where her husband, 72, was listed in stable condition.
Ben Marion, assistant manager of the city-owned airport, said the Paras were attempting to land after a flight from Southern Pines for maintenance. A low ceiling kept the plane from making an approach to the single runway from one end, and the pilot circled around to land from the opposite direction, from the southwest, Marion said.
It was unclear what happened while the plane was going around, Marion said, but it went into trees east of the runway while making the second approach to the 5,000-foot paved airstrip.
Emergency officials were called at 7:54 a.m., Carolyn Miller from the county’s Emergency Operations Center said. The Paras had to be freed from the wreckage, Miller said.
“The emergency equipment is all down there, and they’re getting ready to medevac them,” Marion said.
Barbara Para was airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, while her husband was taken there by ambulance.
A website that tracks conditions at U.S. airports showed that low clouds moved over Siler City just about the time the plane, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A-36, was preparing to land.
The ceiling was listed as being about 200 feet at the time, though it was several thousand feet earlier and later.
The Bonanza, manufactured in 1981, is owned by a company called BHB of the Sand Hills LLC owned by the Paras, according to Federal Aviation Administration and N.C. Secretary of State records.
The crash brought Siler City firefighters, Siler City police and Chatham County sheriff’s deputies, the State Highway Patrol, Chatham County EMS and officials from the county and state emergency management offices, Miller said.
The State Highway Patrol secured the crash scene while awaiting Federal Aviation Administration investigators.