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Physician And Pilot Injured In Small Plane Crash At RDU

Small plane crashes into a sea turtle preservation site at Bacocho beach

On Wednesday, a small plane crash at Raleigh-Durham International Airport resulted in injuries to a physician and a pilot, as confirmed by UNC Health and RDU Airport officials.

The incident involved a UNC Air Operations medical plane that was carrying Dr. Paul Chelminski, an internal medicine physician with UNC Health. Dr. Chelminski was returning from a lecture at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Following the crash, Dr. Chelminski was transported to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and is reported to be in good condition. The pilot of the UNC Air plane, whose identity was not disclosed, was taken to Duke University Hospital in Durham. No information regarding the pilot's condition has been released.

The crash led to the closure of the airfield for flight operations, with the airport announcing the closure at 10:41 a.m. The incident occurred around 10:10 a.m., and one runway was reopened for departing and arriving flights before noon.

Local TV station helicopter footage captured the aftermath of the crash, showing significant damage to the front and side of the plane, along with scattered debris on the ground. Aviation expert Jim Crouse noted that the wreckage indicated a possible issue during approach or landing, with damage to the engine, wings, and tail section.

The cause of the crash remains unknown, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board are conducting an investigation into the incident. The plane involved was identified as a Socata TBM-850 aircraft with the tail number N228CH, according to FAA records.

In a statement, UNC Health expressed concern for the well-being of those involved in the crash and extended gratitude to the first responders who assisted at the scene. Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones during this difficult time.

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