Plane destined for Mt. P. crashes

This photo from FlightAware.com shows the plane that crashed in Georgia early Tuesday morning en route from Hartsville, Ala. to the Mount Pleasant Regional Airport.

A Mount Pleasant-based airplane crashed in east Georgia early Tuesday, killing the only person on board.

The Piper PA-32 crashed about 2 a.m. in a heavily wooded area near Washington, Ga., according to Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. Bergen said the pilot reported engine problems before the crash.

The pilot's identity hasn't been confirmed.

The plane is registered to MS Saratoga LLC of Mount Pleasant. James D. Smith, owner of the J.D. Smith Co., a Mount Pleasant developer, is listed as the registered agent for MS Saratoga.

A call to J.D. Smith Co. was referred to Coastal Aviations in Mount Pleasant. A receptionist at Coastal Aviations said no one at the company had a comment at this time. "It's too soon," she said.

Bergen said the flight took off from Madison County Executive Airport in Hartsville, Ala., and was destined for Mount Pleasant Regional Airport.

The plane took off from Alabama about 11:48 p.m., according to the website FlightAware.com.

The FAA contacted the Wilkes County Sheriff's Office in Georgia after the pilot reported engine problems, Sheriff Mark Moore said.

Deputies searched the area in which the plane was last reported and found the burning crash site about three miles from Washington-Wilkes County Airport.

Moore said they were still trying to confirm the pilot's identity and notify family members.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Reach Andy Paras at 937-5589, aparas@postandcourier.com or on twitter at twitter.com/andyparas.