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Plane that crashed in Louisiana was in the air for just over a minute, NTSB says

The airplane that crashed in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing...

Posted: Dec 31, 2019 11:42 AM
Updated: Dec 31, 2019 11:43 AM

The airplane that crashed in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing five people on board, was intact when it hit the ground, the National Transportation Safety Board said at a news conference Monday.

The plane was in the air for just over a minute before it crashed, NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said.

Landsberg says that investigators with the NTSB are reviewing surveillance video of the crash and are seeking audio that may have been caught by home surveillance systems in the neighborhood.

Six people were aboard the eight-passenger plane Saturday as it headed from Lafayette Regional Airport to Atlanta for the college playoff game between Louisiana State University and the University of Oklahoma. It crashed moments after takeoff, Landsberg said.

Killed were Carley Ann McCord, 30; Robert Vaughn Crisp II, 59; Gretchen D. Vincent, 51; Michael Walker Vincent, 15, and the pilot, Ian E. Briggs, 51.

Stephen "Wade" Berzas, the lone survivor of the crash, remained in critical condition Monday night after suffering burns on more than 75% of his body, according to Dr. Joey Barrios, medical director of the Our Lady of Lourdes Burn Unit.

The investigation

Landsberg said Monday that the pilot had flown the plane, identified as a 1980 Piper PA-31T, before and had more than 1,500 hours of flight time. His latest medical certificate was issued in November, according to Landsberg.

The plane was most recently flown from Houston, Texas, to Lafayette on December 18 and had its most recent maintenance completed in October, Landsberg said.

While weather was overcast with a visibility of only three-quarters of a mile Saturday, it was "flyable," Landsberg said.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane close to the ground and shaking before making a left turn into power lines, NTSB investigator in charge Jennifer Rodi said over the weekend.

A resident, Alexis West, told CNN that the plane "was really low to the ground and shaking and it looked like it was coming to land. ... And then it just skidded through the parking lot at the post office and then exploded. There was a big wall of fire."

There was no distress call from the plane and no cockpit voice recorder in the aircraft, investigators said.

A preliminary report on the crash will be available in a week or two while the final report will take at least a year. "We don't rule anything in or rule anything out," Landsberg said.

Community members rushed to the crash scene

Investigators have already determined that the debris field is smaller than they first thought, only 700 feet rather than the quarter mile, Landsberg said Saturday.

When the plane crashed and began to burn, people nearby rushed to the scene.

Michelle Rawls told CNN she ran barefoot into traffic and toward the scene as the wreckage burned. Her son had already seen the plane tilted, with no engine sound, as it came through a post office parking lot and into a field.

"I could hear a woman screaming. And that was whenever I was running. My feet were already burning. So I couldn't go any further. It ignited more, and then I could hear one more 'help me,'" Rawls said.

Rawls' son and others ran toward the burning wreckage of the plane to help Berzas.

"I'm not no hero. I'm just somebody that wants to save as many as I can. Since we all need at least somebody to help us," Rawls said.

The Lafayette community is grieving for those victims lost in the crash, Rawls said.

Among those killed were a sports journalist and an IT company executive.

The journalist, McCord was a sports reporter with WDSU in New Orleans. She served as in-game host for the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans and was the daughter-in-law of Louisiana State University Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger.

Crisp was an executive for nearly 10 years at Lafayette-based IT company Global Data Systems.

More recently, he was vice president of business development and field services for the company, according to the company's website.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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