ELIZABETH CITY, NC – The bodies of two well-known men and operators of a home-remodeling business in the Glade Hill area of Franklin County were found by the United States Coast Guard in the Albemarle Sound (North Carolina) Thursday morning, according to close friends and a U.S. Coast Guard News Release.
Brothers Alan and John Arant departed from the Mecklenburg Brunswick Regional Airport Monday, on their way to the Dare County Regional Airport that evening in an Robinson R44 Helicopter.
According to a Facebook post by Joe Mitchell, III, the Arant brothers were supposed to land in Dare County Monday evening so they could go fishing Tuesday. Strong storms had developed over the sound with winds over 40 mph. Alan Arant last called Mitchell at 5:30 p.m. and said he was about an hour away, Mitchell said.
“When his helicopter didn’t arrive, and his last updated location on “Find My Friends” was directly over the Albemarle Sound, I contacted authorities, Mitchell stated on Facebook.
“Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina command center were notified by a concerned friend that lost communication with the two people aboard a Robinson R44 helicopter at 6:40 p.m., Monday. Watchstanders launched air and surface assets to search the Alblemarle Sound where the aircraft was last observed,” according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
“At 10:46 a.m. Tuesday, a good Samaritan recovered a backpack and personal belongings near the mouth of the Alligator River,” the Coast Guard said in a news release. “At 11:27 a.m., the MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew discovered helicopter debris in the water in the vicinity of the Alligator River Bridge in the Albemarle Sound.”
By all accounts, Alan and John Arrant were well liked in the Franklin County and Smith Mountain Lake community.
Alan Arant’s worked from Arant Enterprises, Incorporated since 2001. He was a 2003 graduate of Franklin County High School. His brother John Arant also went to FCHS and had been working at the same company since June 29, 2020, according to online profiles.
According to Mitchell, the two were found six miles apart Thursday.
“I want everyone to pray for their family and friends,” Mitchell said. “This is a very hard time for so many of us – I just ask that those of you that knew Alan and John remember all of the great times and what great men those two were.”
The crash is still under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Cable 12 will update this story when the results of the investigation are released and if/when funeral arrangements are released.