UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- Authorities have confirmed that the pilot of a small aircraft which crashed Thursday evening has died. 

The small plane went down around 8:15 at Tarlton Mill Road near New Salem in Union County. 

The pilot of the single-engine, Beechcraft BE36  aircraft, 68-year-old James Cook, of Lexington, died in the crash. Authorities say Cook was on his way home from Daytona when he called in and reported having engine trouble. 

Authorities say the plane nose-dived into a muddy wooded area about a quarter-mile from the closest road, on the end of what locals know as Polk Mountain.

There was no one else on board. 

The plane will likely be tough to retrieve because the ground is so wet. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Aviation Unit, AKA Snoopy, helped find the plane. 

Friday morning the Union County Sheriff's Office was at the scene investigating. The NTSB is expected to arrive Friday afternoon.