UPDATE: NTSB in Lafayette investigating plane crash

Louisiana News

UPDATE (12/29/2019) — Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are in Lafayette examining debris from Saturday’s deadly crash. A preliminary debrief from the NTSB is expected Sunday afternoon.

UPDATE: 3:18 p.m.: The victims of the plane crash have been identified. The group was headed to Atlanta to the LSU game.

An eight-passenger private plane crashed near the Feu Follet Road post office this morning, shortly after lifting off from Lafayette Regional Airport at 9:20 a.m.

Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit confirmed five dead at the scene. One survivor from the plane and three bystanders were transported to local hospitals.

The plane, a twin-engine turboprop Piper owned by Cheyenne Partners, LLC, (N42CV) was headed to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, Ga., according to its flight plans. Flight data from flightaware.com showed that the plane only achieved an altitude of around 375 feet before crashing. Eyewitnesses explained that the plane took out power lines and struck a nearby occupied vehicle – the driver of which was among the bystanders take to the hospital.

A picture of the plane via flightaware.com

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) should be on the scene by 9 p.m. tonight, and Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit said it will likely be Sunday (Dec. 29) before more information is released from their investigation.

The impact of the plane blew out the windows of the nearby post office, and two people inside the post office were among those transported to the hospital, primarily for smoke inhalation, according to Benoit.

Further information in the crash investigation will likely not come until Sunday after officials from the National Transportation Safety Board have had the opportunity to investigate the wreckage. Officials were scheduled to be on-scene by 9 p.m. tonight.

The passengers of the plane have been confirmed as follows:

  • Ian E. Biggs, white male, the plane’s pilot, age 51
  • Robert Vaughn Crisp II, white male, age 59
  • Carley Ann McCord, white female, age 30 
  • Gretchen D. Vincent, white female, age 51
  • Michael Walker Vincent, white male, age 15

One injured plane passenger remains hospitalized and in critical condition:

  • Stephen Wade Berzas, white male, age 37

UPDATE 11:06 a.m.: Fire Chief Robert Benoit confirms the craft was an eight-passenger plane. There is one survivor in the crash in addition to the five fatalities. Three people on the ground not affiliated with the plane have been transported to the hospital. Local first responders are awaiting federal investigators, who will release further information.

UPDATE 10:52 a.m.: Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit confirms five fatalities at the scene. Acadian Ambulance confirms two people transported to local hospitals, one from the plane, one from outside the plane — possibly the motorist that was struck by plane debris.

ORIGINAL POST: LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office confirms that a plane has crashed near the post office on Feu Follet Road near Verot School Road at around 9:20 this morning.

There appear to be unconfirmed fatalities and injuries, possibly as many as five people. The craft appears to be a small private plane, possibly a Piper fixed-wing, though that is currently unconfirmed, as well.

The Walmart on Pinhook Road has been evacuated as a precaution.

Eyewitnesses tell KLFY the scene say they heard sounds from above “like a semi-truck” as the lights went out at businesses and residences near the crash scene. Several residents tell KLFY they are without power at this hour.

Kevin Jackson, a local resident, said he saw the crash.

“I was right outside before the crash. I noticed (the plane) was low and smoking like hell,” said Jackson. “It shook my trailer. I knew something was bad. I went in my house, and all you heard was this massive explosion.”

Jackson and other eyewitnesses said the plane also hit a car on its way down.

“Someone was screaming from that car,” said one eyewitness. “There were little explosions for five minutes or so after that. There was a big old ball of flame.”

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