The North Carolina Wing of the Civil Air Patrol located the aircraft just before 3 p.m. Thursday in the Cape Fear River.
The two on board were identified as 78-year-old Bennie Dalton Williams of Commanche Drive in Erwin and 61-year-old Ronald Waits Forbes of Independence Drive in Hope Mills.
According to FAA spokesperson Kathleen Bergen, the flight departed from Philadelphia Municipal Airport Wednesday headed to Harnett County. It was tracked a mile from Harnett Regional Jetport
The search began after family reported the overdue plane to the FAA. According to Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins, the FAA lost track of the plane around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The CAP located the aircraft after tracking its electronic locator transmission. The single-engine Cessna was registered in Harnett County.
Pictures from Chopper 11 HD showed wreckage in very shallow water in the river.