Beaufort News

Fripp Island man possible plane crash victim

A single-engine airplane possibly carrying a Fripp Island homeowner crashed in a rainstorm near Aiken on Thursday, leaving no survivors, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman.

Kathleen Berger said the Cessna 210 took off from the Beaufort County Airport on Lady's Island bound for Aiken but went down at about 9:30 a.m. in a wooded area about two miles from the Aiken Municipal Airport.

Aiken County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Troy Elwell told the Associated Press that the plane made no distress call before going down and said heavy rain restricted visibility to only a few hundred feet at the time of the crash.

Authorities have not identified victims or said how many people were on board, but Elwell said there were no survivors.

The National Safety Transportation Board is investigating the crash, Berger said.

The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle reported that Stephen Radke was killed in the crash, citing a friend and neighbor on Fripp Island who said Radke was headed to meet a fishing buddy from Augusta.

The Aiken County Coroner's Office declined Thursday afternoon to confirm that report.

According to FAA records, the plane is registered to FBN of Catawba LLC in Maiden, N.C. The N.C. Secretary of State's website lists Radke as the company's registered agent, and Radke owns a home on Fripp Island, according to county property records.

No one answered a phone call to Radke's Fripp Island residence, and attempts Thursday to reach his neighbors were unsuccessful.

A woman who answered a phone number listed on the website for NautiOtter Adventures, a Fripp Island Jet-Ski business Stephen and Kim Radke started in June, declined comment.

The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle and The Associated Press contributed to this report.