WSBT Photo // Mark Honaker

WSBT Photo // Mark Honaker (July 21, 2013)

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are trying to figure out what caused an ultra-light plane to go down in LaPorte County early this morning. The 36-year-old pilot was killed.

LaPorte County deputies say that pilot was Benjamin Hubbard of South Bend. An FAA registry shows the single passenger plane belonged to Hubbard. And investigators say a friend found the wreckage.

What's left of Benjamin Hubbard's ultra-light plane is in pieces.

"It's like oh my God, what does his wife think? She's waiting for a call from him and she's gonna get a call from someone else and his wife is just going to be distraught," said neighbor Bruce Payne.

Payne lives nearby . He says he thought a crop duster crashed.

"I just kind of watched and IT was banking quite hard, did that a few times and then I didn't hear it anymore and then I heard sirens," he explained.

Another neighbor heard the crash and called 911. LaPorte County deputies investigated, but found nothing. Then, around noon, they got another call. This time from Hubbard's friend, who was flying a Cessna. The friend says he found Hubbard's wrecked plane just south of Division Road in LaPorte County.

"Makes you really appreciate life and there's more to life than work," Payne said.

It took law enforcement about four to five hours to find the crash site, they say the tall cornstalks made it difficult for them to find the location. They had to create their own path to get through to the site.

Sgt. Harlan Williams says Hubbard was dead by the time they found him. Williams says the victim and his friend were headed to Plymouth from Niles. They flew in separate planes. When his friend arrived at the destination, he realized Hubbard wasn't there so he retraced their route.

"I didn't know him, but I hope that his family is okay," said Ryan Ficher, whose father owns the land where the plane went down.

"I didn't hear nothing or see nothing until this afternoon at two when the police showed up," Ficher said.

"I'm still kind of state of disbelief," said Payne. "Can't believe it."

Williams says an autopsy is scheduled for Hubbard.