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Officials Identify 2 Killed In Plane Crash Near RDU

sign of RDU
Courtesy of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority

Updated at 4:33 p.m.

Officials at a North Carolina airport have identified the two people killed in the crash of a small plane.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport said in a news release that Dr. Harvey Partridge, a veterinarian with an office in St. Petersburg, Florida, and his wife, Patricia, both 72, were killed when their plane went down Sunday night near a trail at William B. Umstead State Park. The park is adjacent to the airport property.

The airport was briefly closed Sunday evening while fire and rescue units responded.  RDU's airfield is open today. 

An airport spokeswoman says the plane was found near the Reedy Creek trail, and Umstead State Park remains closed to the public.

The Federal Aviation Administration radar lost track of the Piper PA32 at about 7:25 p.m. Sunday as it approached Runway 32, the smallest of three landing strips and perpendicular to what the airport considers its primary runway. Air operations were halted for about 20 minutes as firefighting and rescue units rushed to the wooded area, but the plane could not be located.

The airport authority's president and CEO, Michael Landguth, described the state park as having "few roads and little to no light." He called recovery efforts in remote areas "extremely challenging."

The National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the investigation of what caused the plane's trouble, according to the FAA.

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