The wreckage of a small plane discovered near the Henderson City-County Airport Wednesday morning contained a duffel bag with a large sum of cash and suspected cocaine.
The crash killed Sanford, North Carolina residents 47-year-old Barry A. Hill and 48-year-old George Tucker. The plane was taken without permission from the owner in North Carolina.
Kentucky State Trooper Corey King said there’s information leading investigators to think one of the men knew the owner and said he was considering buying the aircraft. That may be how Tucker, who had some training but wasn’t a licensed pilot, got access to fly the plane.
King says investigators are piecing together the details to determine where the plane was heading, who provided the large amount of cash, and if the drug found in the duffel bag is cocaine.
“We have to determine if that’s exactly what it is, or is it something else like fentanyl, but everything right now points it’s likely cocaine," said King. "It’s not a tremendous amount, we have made arrests on a lot larger scale. But either way that does offer a little bit more intelligence into what we’re seeing here.”
King said a cell phone was found in the wreckage, which may provide additional information. Investigators report the plane crashed because it ran out of fuel and the motor stalled. In light of the fact that the wreckage was found 50 yards from the runway at the Henderson airport, it’s possible the pilot was trying to land to refuel.
Kentucky State Police report the plane was a private Bellanca 17-30A, stolen or taken without authorization from the registered owner from the Davie, North Carolina area.
The investigation by federal aviation authorities is ongoing.