NTSB begins investigation into fatal plane crash

Matthew Harding

NTSB begins investigation into fatal plane crash

CREATED Oct. 20, 2013

Teams from the Federal Aviation Administration, Cessna and the National Transportation Safety Board spent Saturday combing a soybean field for clues to a plane crash that killed a California-based evangelist and his pilot. 

Investigator-In-Charge Tom Latson says a preliminary cause of the crash is expected within a week, but it could be up to a year before the full investigation is complete. 

Latson says the plane, a 1975 Cessna 500 Citation I, took off from Mid-Continent Airport at 9:59 Friday morning and climbed to a height of 16,000 feet. Soon after, radio and radar contact was lost with the plane. 

Most of the wreckage is contained within what Latson describes as a "high angle of impact, high energy impact" crater. "The wreckage is highly fragmented, the airplane was destroyed. There was evidence of fire," Latson says. 

Part of one wing and one aileron was found almost one mile from the impact zone. 

Latson says investigators will be looking at factors such as weather, the plane's mainenance record and the health of the pilot, Mitchell Morgan and the passenger, 72-year-old Dr. Ed Dufresne.

Later today, crews will begin the process of taking the crash debris to Dallas, where it will be reconstructed as a part of the investigation. 

If you have any information on the crash, you can either contact the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office or the National Transportation Safety Board at witness@ntsb.gov.

 

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