FAA: 1 dead in small plane crash near Manhattan, Illinois

The Will County coroner was called to the scene of a small plane crash in a rural area near Gougar and Offner roads near Manhattan Township in Will County, Illinois, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. (Chopper 7 HD image)

December 4, 2012 9:09:36 PM PST
The 74-year-old pilot who died in a plane crash near Manhattan Township in Will County Tuesday afternoon has been identified.

Larry Allen Diffley worked for Enbridge Oil in Minnesota, and was on his way to Joliet to pick up a passenger when the plane crashed. He was the only person aboard the plane.

Officials say the plane crashed in a bean field near Gougar and Offner roads in the suburb.

In a statement, Enbridge said the plane was owned by Bemidji Aviation, where Diffley was a contract pilot.

"Our thoughts are with Mr. Diffley's family," said John Gauderman, Enbridge Chicago Region General Manager, in the statement.

Will County authorities will protect the scene of the crash overnight. Wednesday morning, investigators hope to learn more about what caused the crash.

"I walked the debris field, and its approximately 500 to 600 yards from the point of initial contact to the final resting spot... Further south of the wreckage is also an engine to the plane, it was a twin engine plane. There was a lot of force involved, it wasn't straight down into the ground," said Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas, Will County Sheriff's Department.

Manhattan Township is about 50 miles southwest of Chicago. Diffley lived in Bemidji, Minnesota.