Pilot dead in crash of small plane near Somerset Airport in New Jersey

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (WABC) -- Police say a pilot has been found dead after a small plane crashed near Somerset Airport in New Jersey.

Phillip Clements family left the Somerset County Airport Thursday still in shock and devastated by his sudden loss.

Too brokenhearted to talk on camera, one woman told Eyewitness News he lived his life as a man of God.

Philip Clements was 62 years old, an avid pilot who ran a small business consulting firm in Manhattan and taught bible classes.

Police say he took off Tuesday night sometime after 8:45 p.m. from the Somerset County Airport in a single engine Lake LA-4-250.

It's not clear yet if the plane crashed on takeoff or if Clements was returning to the darkened airstrip.

The wreckage was found Thursday afternoon after a missing person's report was filed.

A state police helicopter spotted the wreckage in the densely wooded area not far from the runway.

His family was at the airport much of the day, waiting for Clements' body to be removed from the wreckage.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. They will check maintenance records and try to determine the cause of the crash.

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