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Pilot dead after plane collides with tractor-trailer on North Carolina interstate

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating what caused the crash.

A pilot was killed Wednesday after the small plane they were flying crashed and collided with a tractor-trailer on a North Carolina interstate, authorities have said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday they were investigating the crash of a twin-engine Beechcraft Barron that hit a tractor-trailer on Interstate 85 in Lexington, North Carolina.

The plane crashed near the Davidson County Airport and collided with the vehicle on the nearby interstate at around 5:30 p.m. ET, the FAA said.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said the pilot, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft, was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was identified as Raymond John Ackley, 43, of Charlotte, they said.

The highway patrol said it was still unclear what led to the crash, which caused the tractor-trailer to overturn and veer off the road.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, they said.

A 2019 Ford truck was also damaged from debris from the collision, the highway patrol said.

Speaking with NBC affiliate WRAL of Raleigh, witness Donald Holt Sr. said he and his wife had noticed that the plane was flying "kinda low."

“As soon as we got right over the highway, we saw the tail of the plane and we saw the tractor-trailer learning on its side and both were on fire," Holt said, adding that they saw "a bunch of smoke — white smoke and black smoke."

All lanes of the southbound I-85 were closed near Exit 88 following the crash. As of early Thursday morning, the on-ramp from North Carolina Highway 47 to the I-85 South was still closed, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.