The pilot of a helicopter that crashed into Holston Lake on Saturday has been found.
Bill R. Starnes, the pilot of the Bell 407 helicopter, was the only person onboard during the accident.
He was found after three days of searching.
The following is a press release from the Virginia State Police about the incident:
"After three days of continuous searching, the pilot from Friday night’s helicopter crash was recovered from South Holston Lake Monday afternoon (Aug. 27, 2012). Using a side-scan sonar, the Virginia State Police Search and Recovery Team (SRT) located the pilot’s body in approximately 80 feet of water about 100 yards from the wreckage of the helicopter. Shortly after 3 p.m., his body was recovered from the water and is being transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke for examination and autopsy.
The pilot, Bill R. Starnes, 64, of Blountville, Tenn., was the only one onboard the Bell 407 helicopter Friday night (Aug. 24, 2012) when it crashed into the lake. The helicopter, owned and operated by Food City, had been ferrying passengers from the Bristol Motor Speedway to a private residence bordering South Holston Lake on the Washington County, Va., side. The helicopter had just dropped off six passengers and taken off when the crash occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Virginia State Police SRT divers responded to the scene Friday night and remained at the scene conducting comprehensive search patterns of the lake throughout the weekend with the assistance of the Sullivan County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office dive team.
The helicopter broke apart upon impact with the water and is completely submerged. The retrieval process of the wreckage is currently underway. The depths of the lake vary from 25 feet to more than 80 feet in different areas around the wreckage.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are on scene investigating the crash, as well.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time."