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Victims in Asheboro plane crash identified

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- The Randolph County Sheriff's Office released the names of the two victims in Friday night's plane crash in Asheboro.

Authorities found Bryan Andrew Manzer, 61, of Asheboro, and Steven Neil Lewis, 30, of Liberty, on Saturday at the crash site near Cedar Rock Mountain Rd., according to press release issued Sunday.

Manzer and Lewis were reportedly flying back to Asheboro from Tennessee.

The Asheboro Regional Airport reported the plane as missing on Friday night, and the search went through the night and into Saturday morning.

Authorities say they did not get a mayday call over the radio before the crash.

The wreckage of a single-engine four-seater, Piper PA-28 Cherokee was found off of Cedar Rock Mountain Road.

The airplane took off from Knoxville Downtown Island Airport in Tennessee Friday.

Witnesses at the Asheboro Regional Airport saw the plane around 8:30 p.m. on Friday when the aircraft flew past the runway while on landing approach, the release says.

It continued past the tree line and out of sight. Radar had the plane near the Asheboro Bypass and Cannon Heights Drive.

Asheboro police responded to the airport at 10:08 p.m. then contacted the sheriff's office to assume command of the search.

FAA, Highway Patrol and Ash-Rand Rescue assisted in the Friday night search.

Wreckage from Asheboro plane crash that killed 2 men (Michelle Wolf/WGHP)

At 2:40 a.m. on Saturday, authorities discontinued the search due to "darkness of night and rain", according to the release.

The search resumed at 4:26 a.m. when Civil Air Patrol authorities received cell phone coordinates in a wooded area near SW Randolph High School.

Overall, around 60 officials helped in the search for the plane which was found two and a half miles south of the Asheboro Regional Airport.

The plane was found in a densely wooded area about 1,500 feet from the cell phone ping that gave authorities the coordinates.

A fire official says the plane looks like it hit several trees during the descent and crash.

The FAA says they are still investigating to find the cause of the crash.

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