MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The pilot of a small plane that crashed in south Bibb County may have reported engine oil pressure problems before it went down, according to authorities.
On Tuesday afternoon, crews with the National Transportation Safety Board removed the plane and other pieces from the swamp waters near St. Clara Drive. NTSB plans to review the debris in order to piece together what caused the aircraft to crash.
Keith Holloway, with the National Transportation Safety Board public affairs office, said the pilot reported engine problems but the investigation is still ongoing.
Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones identified Anthony Cabeza and Julius Gilreath from the wreckage. The two men were traveling from the Apalachicola Municipal Airport in Florida heading to the Greenville Downtown Airport in South Carolina. Jones had a difficult time identifying the men because the bodies were "burned beyond recognition"
Rescue workers used a bulldozer from the Georgia Forestry Commission to cut a path through the densely wooded area to access the crash site. On Tuesday, parts of the single-engine Piper PA-32 plane were recovered using a crane. The wreckage is a little over a half a mile from the Robins Air Force Base runway and a few miles from the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.
Jones expects the victims' autopsies will be complete sometime this week. NTSB is still investigating the case.