MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Civil Air Patrol teams on Tuesday found a small plane that vanished more than a week ago during a flight from Texas to Virginia, and the pilot's body was amid the wreckage about five miles north of a navigational transmitter in Rainelle.
Three reconnaissance planes had searched the mountainous, densely wooded area near Quinwood and Rainelle in Greenbrier County, along West Virginia's southeastern border, said Maj. Jeffery Schrock, a spokesman for the air patrol.
A squadron from Clarksburg spotted debris about 9:40 a.m., but confirmation took several hours because ground teams had to hike through the woods to reach it, Schrock said. They confirmed it was the missing plane about 1:30 p.m.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said Kwan Kwok of Virginia was reported missing by his sister, who said Kwok had recently bought the aircraft in Dalhart, Texas, to fly back to his home state.
The pilot's family provided a photograph to the Civil Air Patrol of the cream-colored Piper PA-30 twin engine with teal blue and orange-red markings. The tail number in the FAA database is still registered to Craig S. Westberg of Durango, Colo., but no phone listing for Craig Westberg could be found.
The Civil Air Patrol could not provide an age or hometown for Kwok and said the sister is in Holland and could not immediately be contacted. Schrock referred additional questions about the pilot to the State Police, who did not immediately return telephone messages.
The search began Sunday after the Civil Air Patrol received an alert from the Air Force that the plane was missing, Schrock said. It had left Texas Nov. 23, but Lunsford said Kwok didn't file a flight plan.
The search area was recommended by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, based on satellite tracking, Schrock said.
Schrock said it was windy, cloudy and drizzling around the time Kwok disappeared. No one had contact with the pilot after he left the Texas airport, he said. Ordinarily, Schrock said, the flight should have taken four to five hours.
Chuck Lofton, who works at Dalhart Municipal Airport in Texas, said he met Kwok while the pilot was checking out the plane around Nov. 21. Kwok told him he'd flown into Amarillo a day or two before and rented a car for the 83-mile drive to Dalhart.
Kwok said he was a "pretty experienced pilot" who had flown helicopters and multiengine aircraft, Lofton said.