Body of Pilot and Missing Plane Found
By: Carly O'Keefe
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ill. - A missing plane and the body of 58-year-old pilot Dan Bradac of Pinckneyville was found shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday near the Benton Municipal Airport.
Bradac did not return to the airport after takeoff for a local flight Thursday afternoon and hadn't been seen or heard from since.
Civil Air Patrol planes zigzagged across Franklin County throughout the weekend, logging more than 1462 miles in the air over the two-and-a-half day search.
The plane was located not far from the end of the airport runway. Search officials say the crash site was missed in previous searches because it could not be seen from the air during aerial searches due to the thickness of the foliage and brush.
Radar records and boots on the ground helped bring the search to an end.
"We found that there were no planes leaving the airport at the time we were talking about. If it did not leave the airport, we figured it must have had issues at take off. So this morning we switched our search pattern to the immediate area around the airport," said Lt. Col. Rick Oeth of the Civil Air Patrol.
According to Oeth, Bradac's plane sustained extensive damage in the crash. National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials are en route to Franklin County to investigate the cause of the crash.