• Coroner identifies pilot killed in small plane crash in Rabun County


    RABUN COUNTY, Ga. - The Rabun County Coroner identified the man killed in a small plane crash Saturday as 62-year-old Ernest Merkelis, of Clayton.

    The county’s EMA director, Mike Mazarky, said the plane went down shortly around 9:45 a.m. Saturday after taking off from Heavens Landing, a private airport west of the city of Clayton.

    The FAA says the plane, a Piper PA46, crashed in the woods after departing from the airport.

    Merkelist, the pilot, was the only person on board. 

    Authorities say there was light fog in the area at the time of the crash.

    The FAA is investigating the crash.

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