A small plane that crashed in Kentucky, killing both men inside of it, might have been stolen by the victims who were not licensed pilots, police said Thursday.
The Bellanca 17-30A came down in Henderson, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Evansville, Indiana, killing the pair on board — Sanford, North Carolina, residents Barry A. Hill, 47, and George Tucker, 48, officials said.
Both men were not certified pilots and they didn't have permission to take that plane, Kentucky state police said.
The crash happened either late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, a mere 75 yards off the runway at Henderson City-County Airport, officials said. The wreckage was found Wednesday at about 7:40 a.m. by an airport worker, authorities said.
The small airport closes at 11 p.m. each night, so no one knows exactly when the plane came down.
One of the men on board knows the plane's owner and at least one of them had taken some classes in piloting, Kentucky State Police Trooper Corey King told NBC News on Thursday.
King didn't immediately know which of the two men knew the plane's owner, or if that student was at the controls of the crashed Bellanca.
"Neither men have or ever had a certified, valid pilots license," King said. "Right now there are more questions than we have answers."
Last year in Seattle, a ground service agent at Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport stole a Horizon Air plane and performed air stunts before he crashed, officials said.
The plane later crashed in a wooded area on Ketron Island in rural Pierce County. No one on the ground was hurt in the crash that killed employee Richard Russell.