Two killed in Jefferson County plane crash
Two people were killed Thursday morning when the plane they were flying from New York to Arizona crashed in rural Jefferson County just north of Lawrence, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Harrig said.
The plane, a 1987 Beech Bonanza, left Hamilton Municipal Airport on Wednesday, arrived in Kansas City Wednesday night, before resuming its journey to St. John’s, Ariz., Thursday morning.
According to an audio recording of air traffic control traffic from Kansas City Center, the plane lost power to its engine and was trying to make an emergency landing in Lawrence Municipal Airport. The air traffic controller said the plane didn't have enough altitude to make it to Lawrence, and that the pilot saw a road where he was going to attempt to land.
According to FAA flight tracking data, the plane left Kansas City about 7:30 a.m. and headed west then south before abruptly turning back near Salina and heading toward Kansas City.
Louie Peterson, a mechanic at Hamilton Municipal Airport, said he knew the pilot of the plane to be an experienced pilot.
“He’s flown that thing all over the country,” Peterson said. “From Colorado to California.”
LJWorld.com is withholding the name of the victim pending notification of family members.
Peterson said the two deceased, a man and his wife, were en route to visit his sister in New Mexico. St. John’s, Ariz., is on the Arizona-New Mexico border.
Mike Jamison, owner of the nearby J Bar Ranch, witnessed the crash. Jamison was working in a field when the plane flew in from the north and crashed on his land.
"It was flying so low," Jamison said. "It caught some air and went down immediately."
After Jamison heard a crash noise he called 911. When he arrived at the scene, he said the pilot of the plane was unresponsive.
The Kansas Highway Patrol is leading the investigation into the crash, but the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are also sending representatives to the scene.
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