DOVER, Del. - The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to find out how a single-engine plane crashed in Dover. The Piper plane crashed Sunday night in a wooded area along White Oak Road.
The crash killed the only person on board, Dr. Clifford Turen, an orthopaedic surgeon at Bayhealth/Kent General Hospital in Dover. Authorities said his plane disappeared off radar, after a distress call was received by the tower at nearby Dover Air Force Base.
"We'll look at aircraft maintenance, the records, any recent maintenance especially, and just the overall condition of the aircraft. We'll look at pilot training. We'll look at environmental hazards. In this case with the weather we've been having recently," said Terry Duprie, air safety investigator with the NTSB.
Members of the Little Creek Volunteer Fire Company discovered the wreckage.
Milton Hodges lives close to where the plane was found.
"It's sad. Someone lost their life. It's a tough situation. I feel for him and his family," said Hodges.
In a statement, Bayhealth's Chief Medical Officer Gary Siegelman said, "Dr. Turen was an exceptional orthopaedic surgeon, a passionate teacher, a strong leader and visionary. He was also a friend and a colleague. He will be sorely missed."
According to Siegelman, Turen came to Bayhealth in 2011 from the Georgia Orthopaedic Trauma Institute where he served as director and charir. Previously, he spent 20 years at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he held the positions of chief of orthopaedic trauma and fellowship director for the Orthopaedic Traumatology Fellowship.
Turen also served as a commander in the medical corps of the United States Naval Reserve for 28 years. He was selected to the presidential medical support team for President George H. W. Bush.
Investigators said the incident could take anywhere from nine to 12 months to find out what caused the crash that killed a beloved doctor. A preliminary report is expected to be released in about 10 days.
"Hopefully we can come up with a good probable cause. Every now and then they are undetermined, but hopefully the facts will determine what that is and have some good safety recommendations to keep these types of accidents from happening again," said Duprie.
Siegelman said Turen's patients will be contacted by employees of Bayhealth Orthopaedic Surgery. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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