Five people died in a small plane crash near Louisiana airport, officials say

At least five people are dead and four others are injured after a small plane crashed into a field in Louisiana. CNN's Martin Savidge speaks with aviation analyst Peter Goelz about what officials may look for as they investigate.

Posted: Dec 28, 2019 4:10 PM
Updated: Dec 28, 2019 4:10 PM

Five people died Saturday when a small plane crashed near Lafayette Regional Airport in Louisiana, Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit said.

A sixth person on board survived the crash, which occurred around 9:22 a.m. CT, Benoit said in a news conference.

Fire officials identified the dead as:

• Ian E. Biggs, 51, pilot

• Robert Vaughn Crisp II, 59

• Carley Ann McCord, 30

• Gretchen D. Vincent, 51

• Michael Walker Vincent, 15

McCord was a sports reporter with WDSU television in New Orleans. She was the daughter-in-law of Louisiana State University Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger, according to WDSU. LSU is playing in Atlanta on Saturday in one of the NCAA's two national championship semifinals.

McCord was a former employee of 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge. During a pregame show, 104.5 ESPN radio host Matt Moscona said on-air that McCord was on her way to Atlanta to watch the LSU game.

ESPN, which was televising the game, spoke to LSU head coach Ed Orgeron.

"Steve and his wife and his family are very distraught," Orgeron said, adding "there's no question" Ensminger would still coach in the game.

Joel Vilmenay, the WDSU's president and general manager, said his staff was devastated and called McCord an amazing talent.

"Carley's passion for sports journalism and her deep knowledge of Louisiana sports, from high school to the professional ranks, made her an exceptional journalist," he said. "As we reflect on her impressive body of work, we offer our deepest condolences to her family."

The injured passenger was identified as Stephen Wade Berzas, 37. He is in critical condition, Lafayette Fire Department spokesman Alton Trahan said in a news release.

Three people were injured on the ground, including a person who was in or near a car and two employees of a nearby post office, Benoit said. The postal workers were treated for smoke inhalation and are doing fine, he said.

The eight-passenger aircraft was taking off from the airport when it crashed, Benoit said. The crash site is about 4 miles from the airport. The NTSB identified the aircraft as a Piper PA-31T.

Officials arrived at the crash site at 9:30 a.m., Benoit said. Several local and state agencies were on the scene cooperating, and the FAA has done a preliminary investigation, he said. Authorities expect the NTSB to arrive later Saturday evening, Benoit said.

Authorities are not yet releasing any information about the victims or the plane's owner.

Weather conditions at Lafayette Regional Airport were listed as foggy throughout Saturday morning, with a visibility of 0.75 miles, according to the National Weather Service. At 7 a.m. local time, visibility was listed at 0.25 miles, which the weather service designates as "dense fog."

Lafayette is about 130 miles west of New Orleans.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 143879

Reported Deaths: 3676
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto952799
Hinds9520193
Harrison6801105
Jackson6043116
Rankin521996
Lee477094
Madison4595102
Forrest360685
Jones341687
Lauderdale3340142
Lafayette312047
Washington3043106
Lamar273849
Bolivar237583
Oktibbeha237460
Lowndes227562
Neshoba2170113
Panola210347
Marshall206547
Leflore200389
Pontotoc192527
Monroe188877
Sunflower188754
Lincoln183664
Warren171757
Tate163049
Pike159958
Union159025
Copiah158840
Yazoo149538
Scott149429
Coahoma146742
Itawamba144433
Simpson143153
Alcorn142724
Pearl River142067
Prentiss138426
Grenada135844
Adams134148
Leake131643
Holmes124261
George121523
Tippah120430
Covington116434
Winston115824
Wayne115522
Hancock113337
Marion109046
Attala106133
Tishomingo105542
Newton102829
Chickasaw102132
Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88153
Clay86226
Jasper80421
Walthall73728
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Stone71014
Carroll70114
Lawrence69814
Noxubee68917
Smith68616
Yalobusha67626
Perry63925
Tunica59519
Greene58222
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis53817
Humphreys52318
Amite50714
Benton48217
Quitman4766
Webster41614
Kemper40615
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson33511
Franklin3155
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1094
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 232506

Reported Deaths: 3457
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30318491
Mobile19260356
Tuscaloosa12446148
Madison12204146
Montgomery12000232
Shelby971276
Baldwin819984
Lee750464
Morgan610447
Calhoun5964113
Etowah585764
Marshall579453
Houston503338
DeKalb460835
Cullman409636
Limestone400844
St. Clair396055
Elmore391061
Lauderdale378353
Walker348096
Talladega334042
Colbert294341
Jackson290524
Blount275436
Autauga261739
Franklin243633
Coffee230315
Dale225454
Dallas219631
Russell21753
Chilton216137
Covington212333
Escambia194031
Tallapoosa168590
Chambers167548
Clarke154919
Pike154714
Marion133935
Winston122523
Lawrence121436
Geneva11678
Marengo116424
Barbour116010
Pickens114118
Bibb113617
Butler113341
Randolph99521
Cherokee98524
Hale91531
Washington89818
Clay88823
Henry8386
Fayette83116
Lowndes78529
Monroe76811
Cleburne74214
Crenshaw70030
Macon69420
Bullock68919
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Wilcox62318
Lamar6227
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene39917
Coosa3064
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