At about 1250 eastern time, a Cessna 177 struck rising terrain near Old Fort during a flight from Asheville, N.C., to Salisbury, N.C. The pilot and two passengers were killed. The pilot told Asheville controllers he intended to fly east at 4,500 feet but the controller informed the pilot of an overcast layer at 2,500 feet. The pilot acknowledged and stated he may need to deviate off course to avoid low clouds in the mountains. When the controller terminated radar service about eight minutes after takeoff, the pilot stated he was following Interstate 40 through the mountains. An air search party located the wreckage the next morning at the 2,900-foot level of Kitsuma Peak in the Pisgah National Forest, 18 miles east of Asheville Regional Airport.