The body of a pilot thrown from a plane has been found, authorities confirmed on Saturday. Search teams had been working tirelessly across rural Tennessee to find the body of the man thrown from his plane when the cockpit canopy came off as he flew at 2,500 feet.
The man's body was found about half a mile from a volunteer fire station, authorities have said. Bob Gault, spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, said, "They found him in a tree line, not too far off the road."
An investigation is currently being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board, and until that is complete the cause of the death will not be confirmed by authorities. However, earlier reports had claimed that the trainee pilot was not wearing his seat belt and so when the canopy came flying off he was ripped out of his seat and thrown from the plane.
Gault has further described: "There were two pilots on board. At some point during their flight, the canopy on the aircraft malfunctioned and, as a result, one of the pilots was ejected."
The unidentified man was reportedly taking a flying lesson in a Zodiac 601 aircraft at the Collegedale Municipal Airport, according to the Times Free Press. That type of aircraft is usually used for leisure flights and pilot training flights.
The plane was carrying an instructor and a trainee pilot as it flew at about 2,500 feet, when suddenly the plane's canopy came flying off.
The plane instructor was not hurt in the incident and although shocked he regained control of the plane and was able to take it back to the airport and land it safely. He quickly reported the incident to authorities, sparking a frantic search for the missing man. However, hours later he was still not found. It was not until Saturday that he was finally found.
Here is a video of a Zodiac 601 airplane: