Fellow aviators speak out about Carterville couple whose plane w - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Fellow aviators speak out about Carterville couple whose plane went missing

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JACKSON COUNTY -- There is new information about a Williamson County couple whose plane went missing Tuesday. 

Flight plan data shows Bill and Pat Searcy left from Southern Illinois Airport on August 30th, for a multi-day trip making stops in Pennsylvania and Delaware before their plane fell off radar Tuesday over West Virginia.

Fellow aviators at southern Illinois airport describe Searcy as an "aviation nut" who not only loved flying, but being around airplanes.

They say the single prop 4-seater plane he was flying Tuesday was a fairly recent purchase, loaded with GPS technology and safety equipment.

Zac Fager has been working on Searcy's plane at Southern Illinois Airport for seven years and says Searcy has more than a thousand hours of flight time along with an instrument rating.

Fager says the Cirrus SR20 airplane Searcy recently bought was new to him, but doesn't believe it had anything to do with him and his wife disappearing from radar Tuesday.

"There's never a prediction, there's so many different factors and so many things that could go wrong at any given time. I mean, you can only hope that whatever you get into you can recover from," explained Fager.

Steve Kunce, who's flown with Searcy, before described him as a great pilot who loved to be at the airport joking around with fellow aviators.

Right now Kunce says he's hoping Bill and Pat return home safely.

"If the parachute opened on that plane hopefully they got down on the ground without a major problem or a major breakup, so I'm hoping for the best until told different," added Kunce.

Fager tells News 3 Searcy called him last week before he left asking about getting an oil change on his plane when he returned.

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