LAKE MAITLAND, Fla. – Investigators gathered evidence near Lake Maitland early Thursday as work continues to determine what caused a plane to crash into the water, killing two men.
The National Transportation Safety Board inspected the Cessna 182, which was pulled to shore after it was located by a search team.
Dan Boggs, an air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said crews will work to disassemble the plane and check for any possible mechanical malfunctions.
Part of the investigation will include checking to see whether fuel played a role in the crash.
"The only thing he said is, 'I'm not getting fuel out of my right tank.' Does that mean he ran out of fuel? Does that mean there was a problem getting fuel out? We don't know. We're going to look at that over the next couple of days," Boggs said.
Based on witness statements, it doesn't seem as if the plane was out of control before it dove into the lake.
"If the water's a better place to land than the top of a house, you're going to pick the water and I hope that that was the case," Boggs said.
The victims, identified Thursday as Stanley Alfred Rampey, 67, and Raymond Eugene Dodd, 79, had rented the plane from a club in South Carolina, which is where they're from, in order to deliver parts for another aircraft.
Firefighters and law enforcement officers responded Wednesday after receiving calls about the aircraft plunging into Lake Maitland around 11:15 a.m.
A dive team searched the lake for hours before the plane and a body were found submerged in about 15 feet of water. A second body was found a short time later.
"I saw a plane in the distance off to the west that was real low," said Bart Diefenderfer who saw the low-flying plane.
According to Maitland police, the victims were the pilot and a passenger.
The cause of the crash hasn't been determined.
"We did receive information that the pilot did state that they were having fuel problems with the plane, but (we have) no other information other than that," Lt. Louis Grindle said.
Information from FlightAware.com shows the single-engine Cessna departed from Oconee County Regional Airport in South Carolina at 6:26 a.m. and landed at Orlando Executive Airport at 9:33 a.m.
Boggs said investigators will determine whether the pilot fueled up at Orlando Executive Airport.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was en route to Massey Ranch Airpark in New Smyrna Beach.
Stanely Rampey's cousin, Michael Smith, said Rampey will be missed.
He told us Rampey leaves behind a wife, four children and 10 grandkids behind. He was also a family physician for decades.
"He was very tied to his church and his family was as well and a lot of his family was in the medical field," Smith said. "A great doctor who sacrificed a lot for his patients and time and effort."
Prisma Health, where Rampey worked, released a statement about his death.
"Dr. Stanley Rampey was a respected and admired physician, and Prisma Health is saddened to hear of his passing. Dr. Rampey was a family medicine physician with Seneca Medical Associates, serving many patients in the community during a career that spanned 35 years.
“Dr. Rampey was a kind man with a true heart for helping everyone. He was a leader among his fellow physicians and the community, serving as a former department chair and chief of staff at Oconee Memorial Hospital. Additionally, he sat on many internal committees with a focus on education and quality. He cared about his patients deeply, and he will be greatly missed,” said Jeanne Ward, chief operating officer of the Prisma Health–Upstate Western Region.
"Dr. Rampey also had a passion for teaching others the practice of medicine, and helped found the first family medicine residency program in Seneca, Seneca Lakes Family Medicine Residency.
“Dr. Rampey was a pillar of this community for many years, delivering generations of babies at Oconee Memorial Hospital and seeing them throughout their life as a family medicine physician. He was available to patients day or night, never turning someone away if they needed care,” said Dr. Saria Saccocio, chair of family medicine at Prisma Health–Upstate. “Dr. Rampey was also a teacher and mentor to numerous physicians, training them to deliver patient care with the highest quality standards, and he was a perpetual learner. He was the type of physician we all strive to be, and a great advocate for access to primary care for all.”
“Our community is feeling the loss today of a wonderful physician and friend. Dr. Rampey left a legacy of compassionate care, and we are grateful to have worked with him and learned from him for 35 years. He was a strong voice for the patient, and the impact of his work will be seen for years to come,” said Dr. Scott Sasser, chief clinical officer of the Prisma Health–Upstate Western Region."
NTSB investigators are still working to find an official cause of the crash, but said they will release a preliminary report in 10 days.
The Golden Cornery Flying Club released a statement on the incident:
As most of you know, our Cessna 182E/G N3051Y went down near Orlando Florida. Club Member Dr. Stanley Rampey was PIC and his passenger was his good thirty year friend Raymond Dodd.
Our thoughts, prayers, and hearts go out to the families, loved ones and friends of our downed pilot and his passenger. At this tragic time, we request that everyone respect the privacy and dignity of the families.
The plane was recovered and Dr. Rampey and Mr. Dodd were located by divers and identified by their belongings after a lengthy search. Dr. Rampey and Mr. Dodd have undergone autopsy by the local coroner's office. Results are unknown to us at this time.
The airplane is in the possession of the NTSB and FAA. They are working to investigate the exact cause of the accident. Golden Corner Flying Club and the families are waiting on the results of investigations being conducted by Law Enforcement, the FAA and the NTSB. At this time, we have no further information and anticipate a full report will be issued at a later date.
Our club (GCFC) is and will cooperate fully to determine the cause of the accident. As a result, the normal procedures require that we quarantine all airplanes and log books belonging to the club. The aircraft affected are N7329G a Cessna 172, N723PM a Piper Cherokee 180 and N3051Y.
As is normal procedure, the log books for N3051Y are enroute by courier to the lead investigator of the NTSB. The GCFC's Insurance company will take charge of the aircraft following completion of the research being done by Law Enforcement, the FAA and the NTSB
We are all heartbroken at the loss of two fine men. Both were outstanding members of the Seneca community and would do anything to help their friends and neighbors. Everyone I have talked to absolutely loved them both and they both knew and loved the Lord.
Please pray for the families, friends and loved ones!
Stay with News 6 on air and online for updates to this developing story.