PETAL – Police Chief Lee Shelbourn said he believes a single-engine Cessna 172 aircraft could have clipped the top of pine trees before it crashed today, killing two people on board.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to take over the investigation and start work at the scene Thursday. Investigators with both agencies will work to determine the cause of the crash.
Two FAA agents are already on the scene and will be joined Thursday by agents from the NTSB in Dallas. Police will guard the wreckage overnight; the accident site will be off limits to the public.
In other developments:
-- Forrest County Deputy Coroner Jonathan Nobles identified the victims as Jim Hartman of Gulfport and Ernest R. “Buddy” Myrick of Petal. Myrick had just celebrated his 92nd birthday Tuesday.
-- Shelbourn believes the two victims died on impact. While the crash caused no property damage, he said, it did cause a small grass fire that was extinguished.
-- Shelbourn said wreckage from the crash is spread over about 100 yards. The plane crashed on a private air strip near Trinity Baptist Church; the crash site is off Smithville Road near the Corinth Road intersection.
-- Mickey Ball of Petal said he was on his way to pick up mail for his parents on Corinth Road at about 9:30 a.m. today when he noticed the plane crash. Ball said the air strip has been used for crop dusting.
More details on this story as it develops online and in tomorrow’s Hattiesburg American
in other news a Cessna 560 Citation 5 went down in Minnesota
Two Jackson men died in a plane crash today.
Clyde Lewis was flying a Cessna from Oxford to Rochester, Minnesota, when the plane was diverted for an emergency landing because of severe weather.
The plane crashed near the Cresco airport, just south of the Minnesota border killing the pilots, Lewis and William Eisner of Jackson.
Passengers Johnny Fayard and Robert Paulk, both of Gulfport were injured and taken to the hospital.