UPDATE: Searchers find plane wreckage in Lake Park, Ga.

Rick Poppel
Posted at 11:23 AM, Dec 11, 2012

UPDATED: 12/11/2012 12:22 p.m.

VALDOSTA, Ga.(WTXL) - Authorities say the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in south Georgia has been located after an extensive search.

Around 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, the Georgia Highway Patrol told the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it found the wreckage of the plane, a Diamond Aircraft DA40, in Lake Park, Ga., just 20 miles south of Valdosta.

Savannah, Georgia ABC affiliate WJCL confirms the pilot killed in the crash is Rick Poppell of Jesup, Georgia.

A spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Administration says Poppell was piloting Diamond DA-40 aircraft.

Authorities say the pilot left the Valdosta Regional Airport at 8:30 p.m. Monday and told authorities by radio he was having some type of problem.

When they lost contact with the plane, authorities began searching for it. More than 50 people and three aircraft from The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, Georgia State Patrol's Aviation Unit, and the Civil Air Patrol scoured the area. 

The search began on Monday evening and continued until about 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday. It was then paused due to fog, but soon continued that same morning.

After the search resumed, Sheriff Prine says they received a tip from a resident that saw the plane go down.

Prine says the plane crashed in a swampy area, about 300 feet away from a home. The aircraft reportedly crashed into several trees on the way down.

Reporters aren't allowed at the exact site of the wreckage, but WTXL/ABC 27's Marc Liverman is in the area. He will have the latest details on WTXL/ABC 27 News at 5 and 6, and Bounce TV's News at 7.