WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (CNN) — Officials have identified a pilot who died in a plane crash in Northwest Arkansas as 17-year-old Gabriel Hatton of McKinney, Texas.
The plane Hatton was flying went down just up the mountain in Washington County, an extremely wooded and rural area. But one family was just about 200 feet away when the teenage pilot crashed.
One couple shared what they remember from the deadly plane crash through an audio interview.
They both say as secluded as they are, they never could have expected a plane to come down so close to their home.
“With no warning, no sound of anything approaching from a distance, then immediately over our house we heard a sound of an engine and then within a few seconds the sound of what was clearly an impact,” the woman witness said.
She says within seconds they could smell the fuel from the plane, and that’s when the couple called 911.
While they waited for first responders to arrive, they gathered their neighbors and began searching the perimeter with flashlights.
“This is a very remote area, very woodsy, and your brain doesn’t immediately register what just happened, and it takes a second to like, ‘oh my gosh, you know, that was a crash. That was a plane,'” she said.
Now the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says the pilot flying that single engine Cessna plane was 17-year-old Gabriel Hatton from McKinney, Texas.
Officials say he died in the crash.
The family who heard it all happen says they are completely heartbroken.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that within 200 feet or so of our house somebody died,” she says.
Now the wreckage remains at the site as the FAA conducts their full investigation to determine how this crash happened.
Emergency Manager John Luther says the crews used drones, off-road vehicles, as well as radar technology from the rescue coordination center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida to help locate the plane.