Retired NC trooper killed in Boone plane crash

BOONE, N.C. — A retired North Carolina state trooper was killed in a plane crash Monday in Boone, officials said.

Ben Chappell, 69, of Boone died at the scene of the crash.

Two others inside the plane were identified as John Field Worsley II, 68, of Lenoir and Steven Cox Berry, 43, of Banner Elk.

They survived the crash and were rushed to the hospital in critical condition Monday.

Officials said the Piper PA-32 crashed on a golf course west-northwest of Runway 13 at Boone Airport just before 1 p.m.

Witnesses scrambled to get to the downed plane as flames quickly engulfed much the aircraft in the middle of one of the fairways at the Boone Golf Club.

Golfers like Bud Russell, a local minister, and his son, who works in law enforcement, tried to get those on board away from the fire.

"They clipped a couple of pine trees, and we knew they were going down, and it exploded on impact," Russell said. "It was fully enflamed at that time and the two guys had barely gotten out and we continued to coach them to get them away from the plane."
Two medical helicopters landed feet away from the crash to airlift Worsley and Berry. One was flown to Winston-Salem and the other to Johnson City.

A physician’s assistant was on his lunch break when he saw the plane touch down at the Boone airport and take off immediately.

"He came in really fast like a touch-and-go and came back up, and I was like, that was fast for coming into the little airstrip over there," Matt Baldwin said.

The Boone Police Department will be conducting the initial investigation, however the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be responding to conduct a further investigation.

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