Beth Smith, Henderson Gleaner
HENDERSON, Ky. — A small plane crash at the Henderson City-County Airport has claimed the lives of two men, according to officials.
He said the two men were found dead inside the plane and are believed to have died on impact.
“There are no apparent skid marks or anything like that,” Farmer said. The plane “was driven into the ground” with no debris field evident at the crash scene.
He said the plane went down sometime overnight crashing between 75 and 100 yards away from the midpoint of the runway. Airport officials said the runway is about one-mile long.
The bodies have been removed from the crash scene and are being taken to Madisonville for autopsies either this afternoon or Thursday morning.
The Kentucky State Police — who are currently in charge of the scene — are asking for help from anyone who may have seen “some type of crash, a plane, anything out of the ordinary” Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning near the airport.
Officials say the radio system at the Henderson airport is shut down overnight, and the Evansville tower shuts down around 11 p.m., so after that time, everything is referred to Indianapolis, Farmer said. Authorities will contact the Indianapolis airport to see if any additional information can be found that may help the investigation.
Other factors that will be probed include possible mechanical failure, pilot error and whether or not drugs, alcohol or a medical condition may have played a part.
In that way, said KSP’s Trooper Corey King, a spokesman for the agency, this investigation is no different than the crash scene probe of a large passenger plane or airliner.
Farmer added that the wreckage is still being examined for personal property and other items that may help provide more answers.
Officials believe they have the identity of one of the victims at this time, but it is not firm enough to release yet, according to KSP.
The crash scene is in a field near the runway, and workers at the airport discovered the wreckage this morning around 7 a.m. as the airport was being opened.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration arrived around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and representatives with the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive in Louisville around 5 p.m. They will head to Henderson from there. The airport is closed to normal operations until further notice.
Almost to the day
The last plane to have crashed in Henderson County did so at the city-county airport on April 27, 2003, according to the NTSB.
The 57-year-old pilot, identified as Everett “Bud” Starnes died while taking his kit–built airplane for its maiden flight as his wife and some friends watched, past Gleaner articles reported.
Starnes was a businessman and past president of Evansville’s chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Henderson City-County Airport is a public use airport located four nautical miles west of the central business district of Henderson. The airport is owned by the city and county of Henderson and is mostly used for general/private aviation.