• Woman hopes plane at bottom of Lake Norman is hers

    By: Catherine Bilkey


    LAKE NORMAN, N.C. - A mysterious plane was found submerged in Lake Norman. The FAA said dive teams found it when they were searching for a drowning victim. Eyewitness News first showed viewers the sonar image Friday. Since then, many have called in with their own theories on what may have happened.

    When dive team members saw the plane on the sonar, they sent a diver in to get a closer look at the small aircraft submerged 80 feet under at the tail, 100 feet at the nose.

    "They did a [primary] search of the plane just to make sure there wasn't any obvious victims or anything that stood out," Battalion Chief Kent Davis, with Charlotte Fire Department, said.

    They couldn't get the doors open, but they didn't see any obvious victims. Saturday, a Cornelius woman says that's because if it's her plane -- there isn't any.

    "We spent thousands and thousands of dollars looking for that thing," Barbara Anderson said.

    Anderson said her plane sunk when flight instructors were doing training on Lake Norman.

    "We got a phone call that said your plane has sunk," Anderson said. "They landed, forgot to put the gear up to lock it and the plane sunk."

    The pilots were OK but the plane was gone. That was more than 30 years ago.

    "Every time I'd go out flying, I'd look," Anderson said. "And one day, I saw it. The sun glanced right down on it. And I called back and said I found it. But by the time they got down there with the boats and things, it had … shifted."

    At the time there wasn't sonar equipment that could provide a good image. Her ex-husband saw the picture on our news yesterday and called Anderson.

    "They found your plane," Anderson said he told her. "It's been a joke all these years. Who could lose a plane?"

    But now the joke may be over.

    "I called the FAA this morning -- they're checking the records," Anderson said.

    So far the FAA hasn't told Eyewitness News if they'll be pulling the plane out of the water or if they've determined who it belongs to.

    Anderson told Eyewitness News she's been involved in aviation most of her life. She remembers another plane sinking a few years after hers. She's still hoping this one might be her lost plane.

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