The crash site of a privately-owned plane, set to arrive at Claremore Regional Airport Monday afternoon, has been located northeast of Fort Smith Ark., said Madison County Chief Deputy, Captain Robert Boyd. The two victims on board the plane have also been found.
It is believed that the aircraft crashed sometime around 2 p.m. Monday afternoon after controllers lost radar and radio contact with the pilot. The plane was traveling from Sylacauga, Ala. to Claremore, and was due to land around 3 p.m. at Claremore Regional Airport.
Full names of the victims have not yet been released, however, Boyd said the passenger was the sister of Pryor area resident Tim Wall, and the pilot was identified as a Mr. Williams of Pryor.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators are on the scene and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. FAA Spokesperson Lynn Lunsford said because it is a fatal accident, the NTSB will be in charge of the investigation.
He said the wreckage was scattered across a large area of about 54 miles northeast of Fort Smith, in the foothills of the Ozarks.
The cause of the wreckage is still unknown but it is believed that the aircraft (N888TP), a six-seat, single-engine Piper Saratoga was flying into a storm and the pilot lost control.
“The terrain was mountainous with an elevation about 2,450 feet,” said Boyd. “If the pilot would have sustained his altitude of 3,400 feet, the plane probably would have made it out. There was a tremendous amount of updrift and I’m sure his sight was restricted due to the amount of fog in the area at the time.”
The private plane was registered to Williams. Boyd said relatives of both people on board are currently at the MCSO station.
He said people who knew Williams reported that he was not the most experienced pilot.
The Arkansas Wing of Civil Air Patrol had more than 10 members searching for the crash site on ground and with two airplanes. The aircraft was spotted by a Civil Air Patrol aircrew in the remote area and a Civil Air Patrol ground team silenced the Emergency Locator Transmitter found at the site, according to a release from Civil Air Patrol.