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Chappell’s Funeral Set for Saturday, Banner Elk Plane Crash Survivor in Critical Condition

By Jesse Wood

While the National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation into Monday’s plane crash that claimed one life and seriously injured two, the crash site at the Boone Golf Course is now clean and the onsite investigation is over, according to Art Adams of the Boone Golf Course.

The two survivors, John Field Worsley II, 69, of Lenoir, and Steven Cox Berry, 43 of Banner Elk, were airlifted to regional hospitals following the crash. Both are still hospitalized and have been described as in critical condition.

National Transportation Safety Board official conducting the investigation of the crash at the Boone Golf Course earlier this week.
National Transportation Safety Board official conducting the investigation of the crash at the Boone Golf Course earlier this week.

According to a communications official at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Worsley is in critical condition, which is defined by the hospital as “vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.”

The following morning of the crash on Tuesday, the Boone Police Department listed Berry’s condition as critical as well. However, Berry is currently a “no-information patient” and hospital staff isn’t allowed to release information pertaining to Berry’s status.

The plane crash occurred just before 1 p.m. on Monday. The plane took off from the nearby Boone Airport and immediately went into distress, according to witnesses playing golf. The plane clipped the tops of trees before crashing onto the course and bursting into flames.


Former State Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Chappell, 69, of Boone, died in the crash. Although Chappell is an accomplished pilot, one who loved to fly, he wasn’t piloting the Piper PA-32-300 that crashed on Monday, according to his obituary and Boone Police Department spokesperson Matt Stevens.

He was sitting in the back of the plane, while Worsley and Berry were up front. It’s still unclear who was piloting the plane. Worsley has a registered a fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft, a Piper PA-32-300 with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Stevens said that he also doesn’t know if this was an instructional flight. Stevens said that a flight plan wasn’t filed for this particular flight. He added that most of the unanswered questions at this time will likely be resolved once the National Transportation Safety Board concludes its investigation.

A preliminary report hasn’t yet been published, and a communications official with the NTSB said that a report is usually published in a week or so.

Funeral services for Ben Chappel, who served a tour in Vietnam and was a trooper for 25 years, will take place on Saturday, April 30. Details are listed below:

Funeral services for Ben Chappell will be conducted Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock at the Boone United Methodist Church. Masonic graveside services will follow at Mount Lawn Memorial Park & Gardens.

The family will receive fiends Friday evening from 5 o’clock until 9 o’clock at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to one of the charities Ben supported: St. Jude Children’s Hospital, PO Box 1000, Department 142, Memphis, TN 38148 or Saint Joseph’s Indian School, PO Box 300, Chamberlain, SD, 57325.

Online condolences may be shared with the Chappell family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Chappell family.

Read Chappell’s entire obituary here.