N. Carolina sheriff’s office volunteer killed in Horry County plane crash

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 12:49 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:45 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A North Carolina sheriff’s office lost one of its volunteers last week when a single-engine plane crashed in Horry County, killing both men onboard.

One of the victims of the fatal Horry County plane crash last week was a volunteer with a North Carolina Sheriff’s Office.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said 66-year-old Terry Druffel, of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., began volunteering with the office in 2020 and served mainly with the Marine Patrol Unit.

The sheriff’s office released the following statement:

“BCSO Volunteers are family to us and we are deeply saddened by Terry’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Willis Tew, was a student and co-worker of Druffel’s at the High Tide Aviation school in Southport, North Carolina.

Tew said he saw Terry everyday and was even trained by him when he was first starting his aviation career.

“He helped, just kind of show me the ropes. It was actually my first job in aviation. I had been raining for years, had a lot of other gigs along the way,” Tew expressed. “But it was my first real step into aviation as a career and he was kind of like the guy there to help me move the plane, and fuel them.”

Tew said knowing Terry died doing what he loved brings him a sense of peace, but won’t take away how much he’ll miss his joyful presence.

Tew said, “He was a fellow pilot. It was sad to see him go. You know it’s just, it’s shocking news. We obviously take calculated risks everyday being pilots and to go doing something we love to do is not the most awful thing in the world. But, it’s always a tragedy to lose somebody.”

CEO and Chief Pilot of High Tide Aviation, Jessica Ward, remembers the time she first met and trained Terry.

She said he was always striving to be the best aviator he could be.

That’s something Ward said, she saw more of in other pilots.

“He was the upmost professional in everything that he did. Every little detail of what he did was with a high level of care and professionalism,” Ward said.

According to accident information from the Federal Aviation Administration, a Piper PA-28R also caught fire after going down in a wooded area at around noon Wednesday. Horry County Fire Rescue crews said they were called to the area of McNeill Road in response to the crash.

This was also confirmed via air traffic control communications that were obtained by WMBF News.

The second victim in the crash was identified as 72-year-old Barrie McMurtrie.