Body of pilot, 72, found after crash in Pa.

May 01, 2006

A small plane that had been missing for five days in a rugged section of south-central Pennsylvania was found yesterday, along with the body of its 72-year-old pilot, the Civil Air Patrol's Maryland Wing said.

Searchers found the blue-and-white Cessna 172 about 12:45 p.m. in an area called the "punch bowl," just north of the Pennsylvania state line, officials said. The body of David K. Weiss of Bethesda was found in the wreckage. His sons, Steve and Mark Weiss, located the crash site and were joined by an air patrol ground team.

The area was being searched because authorities said signals relayed automatically to a cellular communications tower in nearby St. Thomas, Pa., indicated that a cell phone belonging to Weiss was in that area. Federal Aviation Administration radar also had indicated the vicinity as where Weiss was believed to be flying, and people in the area had reported seeing or hearing something consistent with an airplane crash.

Weiss took off shortly after noon Tuesday from Gaithersburg Airport, and was due back at 2:30 p.m. He was on a routine "proficiency flight," needed to maintain his pilot's certification. Last contact with the pilot occurred when the aircraft was leaving the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone at 12:17 p.m.

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