Authorities are investigating a plane crash that killed the pilot, a Connecticut dentist, on Saturday in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The mangled aircraft sits in the woods on the property of Worcester Regional Airport, where authorities said 66-year-old Dr. Gary Weller, of Putnam, crashed after trying to take off.
Most of the aircraft is covered with a tarp, but there plane parts are everywhere, including up a tree. The National Transportation Safety Board is working to determine what went wrong.
"What we do is look at the facts, conditions and circumstances behind any accident," said senior NTSB air safety investigator Paul Cox. "What we're doing is documenting the scene today."
A coworker told necn the pilot of the single-engine Mooney was a remarkable man. Harvey Edwards, a friend and patient, said Weller changed his life.
"He was the most loving, caring, kind, and the best dentist I have ever met in my life," said Edwards. "This is not only a loss for the community, but it's a loss for humanity. For all the good people that, in the health world, provide services. He is one of a kind and he will be missed above and beyond."
Edwards told necn that he is distraught by the loss and has never met anyone else like Weller.
"I left the office every time with a smile on my face. Every single time," he said. "I can't express the sorrow and the grief that I feel right now."
According to his biography, Weller had been a commercial pilot for Eastern Airlines and U.S. Airways.
"Such a nice man," said William Zamagni, of Putnam. "I was devastated when I heard."
The plane's engine was hauled away Sunday afternoon in the back of a pickup truck for further investigation.
"We don't want to jump to a conclusion at this point," Cox said of the investigation.
Authorities said the plane, which was manufactured in 1996, got off the ground, but quickly crashed in the woods just off the runway moments later.
There was no fire, and Weller was the only person on board.
"We look at everything. We look at the man, the machine and the environment," said Cox. "Right now, we're looking at the machine."
Investigators hope to have a preliminary report in about 10 days, and then a final report with analysis and probable cause in about a year.