Pilot in deadly Chapel Hill crash identified

Thomas Pitts (right) and Jim Donahue (Courtesy Wilmington News Journal)

July 13, 2010 4:17:21 PM PDT
Authorities have released the names of a pilot who died in a Chapel Hill plane crash Monday and his injured passenger.

A second surviving passenger had already been identified Monday as 22-year-old Kyle Henn, the brother of a 25-year-old Nate Henn, who was killed in a terrorist bombing Sunday in Uganda.

According to the News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware, pilot Thomas Pitts was a native of Fox Point, Delaware.

Jim Donahoe, a close friend of Pitts', also was on the plane and is in critical condition at UNC Hospitals. Kyle Henn is listed as fair.

Also Tuesday, officials released the 911 call made by a man at the airport after the crash. The man tells the 911 operator the plane crashed 30 seconds before he called and that it ended up beside the runway.

The flight originated in Salisbury, Maryland. Pitts had offered to take Kyle to Raleigh to be with family after learning of his brother's death.

The Henn family released a statement Tuesday about their sons Nathan and Kyle.

In it, they said:

"We are devastated by the loss of Nate in the terrorist attack in Uganda, and the pain is immense. We are blessed that by the grace of God we did not lose our second son, Kyle, when the plane bringing him to be with our family crashed Monday. Our prayers and wishes go out to the men that died and were injured in providing help to our family."

The plane crashed Monday afternoon during an attempt to land at Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill.

Pitts was a longtime pilot and veterans activist.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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