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      Pilot warned he was in trouble

      Moments later, authorities say both radar and radio contact were lost, and the plane crashed in the Lake Park area on Dec. 10. / File

      Federal investigators say the pilot of a small plane told air traffic controllers that he was in trouble shortly before his small plane crashed in south Georgia, killing him.

      A preliminary accident report Thursday from the National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot radioed "I'm in trouble."

      Moments later, authorities say both radar and radio contact were lost, and the plane crashed in the Lake Park area on Dec. 10. The pilot had taken off from Valdosta Regional Airport, about 10 miles northwest of the Lake Park area where it went down.

      The pilot, 52-year-old businessman Rick Poppell, who was the plane's lone occupant, was killed in the crash. He owned Poppell's Produce in Jesup.

      The preliminary report does not indicate what caused the crash, and the investigation is continuing.
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