NASCAR Champion Ted Christopher Dead in North Branford Plane Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident. Details of the plane's itinerary were not immediately released

Modified championship racer Ted Christopher was one of two people killed when a small plane crashed in the woods in Connecticut on Saturday, NASCAR officials said.

North Branford police said Sunday that 81-year-old Charles Dundas, a resident of New York and Florida, was killed in the Saturday crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that two people were aboard a Mooney M20C plane that went down near the North Branford-Guilford border shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the plane departed from Roberston Airport in Plainville at 12:30 p.m.

The plane was headed to Long Island, officials said, but it is not clear what airport. 

Christopher was to have competed Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway in Calverton, New York on Long Island. Traffic officials planned a tribute to him by having his car driven for a ceremonial lap and a moment of silence from fans.

NTSB officials said there were no distress calls made between when the plane departed from Plainville and when it crashed in North Branford. Witnesses said they did not hear any airplane or engine noises, just a "thump" when it nose-dived into the trees.

The plane's right wing was severed by the trees, but otherwise, in tact, NTSB said.  

Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO, said Christopher, 59, and the plane's pilot, Dundas, both died.

NTSB will investigate the accident for the next four days and release a preliminary report within 10 days. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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