At about 16:12 EDT, a North American SNJ-5 on an IFR flight plan crashed into Beech Mountain while en route from Hickory, N.C., to Indianapolis. The two occupants were killed. The flight was level at 8,000 feet when radio and radar contact was lost. The flight was last observed on radar to make a left descending turn and was lost from radar at 5,000 feet, two miles north of the Elk River Airport. A witness said the engine was spitting and sputtering.