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Rescuers from two counties respond to ‘false alarm’

By Staff
Find no evidence of plane crash; think it could have been a hoax
By NIKIE MAYO
News Editor
A report of heavy smoke and a plane crash in Ponzer Friday afternoon drew multiple emergency responders from two counties, but officials believe it was either a false alarm or a pure hoax.
Firefighters, emergency medical technicians and law officers from Beaufort and Hyde counties were summoned to 1516 Hyde Park Canal Road, near the Rose Acre Farms egg facility, to douse a fire and find a downed plane. But two hours later, they called off the search and concluded the smoke must have come from a field somewhere nearby.
Pungo River Fire Department from Pantego was the first to be called to the scene around 3 p.m., Spencer said.
But no one could pinpoint a crash site. And the only fire that rescuers could certainly find was traced to a farmer burning off his wheat field.
That fire was soon extinguished by heavy rains that drenched the area late Friday afternoon. Those weather conditions limited other agencies’ abilities to respond.
Despite thunderstorms rolling through the area, Ponzer pilot Bobby “Tink” Armstrong flew his private plane around the site looking for any signs of a downed aircraft. Armstrong, who has been flying for 33 years, said he gave only a little thought to the weather.
Rose Acre officials could not immediately be reached Friday. Spencer said the call an employee made to a manager could not be traced to a particular worker because it came from the plant’s own calling system.