The National Transportation Safety Board has quite a mystery on its hands at the Nashville International Airport. A small plane crashed around 2 a.m. Tuesday, but went unnoticed for nearly seven hours.
"At this point we have no idea the exact time," said Jay Neylon, the air safety investigator in charge of the probe, during a news conference Wednesday.
The pilot of another plane reported "debris on the runway" to the control tower about 8:45 a.m., Neylon said. Airport personnel responded to find the plane's sole occupant dead amid the plane's wreckage.
According to Neylon, there was dense fog when the single-engine Cessna 172R Skyhawk crashed. The aircraft was registered to an Ontario, Canada, flying club. A member of the club had reportedly rented the plane.
In a statement, David Gillies, president of The Windsor Flying Club in Ontario said tapes indicate the pilot circled over the airport "for some time" and that the plane crashed while trying to land about 2:30 a.m. Authorities have not released the pilot's name.
The NTSB surveyed the crash site Wednesday and investigators are expected to examine air traffic control tapes and radar. Though a preliminary statement could be issued within 10 days, it could take up to a year to determine probable cause, of which fog may or may not be a contributing factor.
The airport's control tower is staffed 24 hours a day, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. It was not immediately clear how many controllers were in the tower during the overnight shift and it the NTSB.