ARKANSAS - 2 Die in Madison Country Plane Crashgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
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Title: 2 die in Madison County plane crash
ROBERT J. SMITH - ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
April 3, 2000
PETTIGREW -- Two people were killed Sunday afternoon in the fiery crash of a single-engine airplane southeast of Pettigrew.
Madison County Sheriff Philip Morgan confirmed the deaths, but the victims' names were not released Sunday night.
The plane was flying in a heavy fog over a wooded area that had been logged in some places, Morgan said. It apparently clipped some trees and lost a wing, then landed upside down in a steep valley, Morgan said.
Bob Morison, who lives about 1,000 feet from the crash site, said he heard the plane sputtering as he was working in the yard.
"It sounded like he was hot-dogging around, but I realize now it was cutting out," Morison said. "I came in my house, and that's when I heard it hit the mountain. I said, 'Oh, my God,' and I called the neighbor."
Morison and his wife, Peg Davis, went with their friend Lindy Hinrichs to look for the plane. Not realizing it was close, they drove up and down county roads for nearly an hour.
"My wife had smelled it, but we couldn't find it," Morison said. "It was like, 'Holy s***.' I realized it was just right there." Several witnesses called the Madison County sheriff's office to report hearing or seeing the plane in trouble.
Wayne Martin, a Pettigrew firefighter, reached the plane just before Morison and his wife, finding it engulfed in flames about 2 1/2 miles southeast of Pettigrew near the Muddy Gap Tower, a U.S. Forest Service structure.
Rex Brandenburg, a Pettigrew man who used to own 80 acres where the plane crashed, stood within 200 feet of the smoldering yellow plane as firefighters sprayed water onto its hot surfaces. He said he watched as emergency workers brought two bodies out.
The plane was badly burned, but its tail number was identifiable, Morgan said. He wouldn't release the number.
Even the witnesses who located the plane were unclear exactly when they found it Sunday, but several told Morgan they saw or heard the plane faltering about 3:30 p.m.
Deputies from the Madison County sheriff's office were joined in the search for the plane by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officers and a Huntsville Fire Department search and rescue team. The terrain where the plane crashed made searching for it more difficult.
"It's all hilly down there," said Alvie Johnson, an assistant chief for Pettigrew Fire Department. "[The pilot] was trying to get down out of the fog and there was zero visibility up there. He was circling and trying to find a place to land from the information I have."
Morgan denied reporters and photographers access to the crash site Sunday, saying the Federal Aviation Administration was involved.
Roland Herwig, an FAA spokesman in Oklahoma City, said the National Transportation Safety Board would be in charge of the crash because there were fatalities. Efforts to reach an NTSB spokesman on Sunday night were unsuccessful.
Copyright ) 2000, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), April 03, 2000