Missing Plane Found Friday Afternoon Near Batesville Airport

Imagery: Google Earth
Imagery: Google Earth

JANUARY 5, 2007 - Posted at 1:28 p.m. CST, updated at 3:36 p.m. CST

BATESVILLE, AR - A plane missing since early Thursday afternoon was  found Friday afternoon near the Batesville Regional Airport, just south of the Batesville city limits.

A spokesman with the Civil Air Patrol says the wreckage of a plane was found at approximately 12:30 p.m. Friday, about one mile east of the airport.  It is believed to be a Cessna 182-R owned by Barr Air Patrol of Mesquite, TX that was scheduled to land at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday at the Batesville airport, to re-fuel.  According to an Associated Press report, two people who were on board the plane have been found dead, though names of the victim have not been released.

Sources tell K8 News the plane took off from the airport at Joliet, Illinois, Thursday while doing aerial survey work along the Exxon-Mobil pipeline.  Last contact with the plane was made when it was over Ripley County, Missouri, near Doniphan.

A large-scale search involving several different law enforcement and rescue agencies has been underway since late Thursday afternoon in Independence, Lawrence and Randolph counties in Arkansas, as well as Ripley County, Missouri.  Search efforts were hindered by rain and heavy fog in the region.

Stay tuned to K8 News and KAIT8.com for continuing coverage.

JANUARY 5, 2007 - Posted at 10:14 a.m. CST

BATESVILLE, AR - Heavy fog in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas is hindering the search for a small plane missing for about a day.  Search aircraft have intensified their search in Lawrence and Independence Counties.

Two people from Barr Air Patrol of Mesquite, Texas, were on board the Cessna 182-R that was scheduled to land at 1 p.m. yesterday at the Regional Airport in Batesville (AR).  It failed to show up, however, and the last contact with the aircraft was earlier yesterday when the plane was over Ripley County (MO).

Barr Air Patrol president Mike McDuffie says a search and rescue operation will begin today as soon as fog lifts, perhaps by around 11 a.m.   The Arkansas wing of the Civil Air Patrol plans to put planes in the air as soon as weather permits.  Meanwhile, the C.A.P. has asked that residents in north-central and northeast Arkansas who may have heard any aircraft flying low or eratically contact authorities.

In Randolph County, members of at least three fire departments, as well as officers with the Sheriff's Dept. and Pocahontas Police Department searched for the aircraft yesterday, along with several volunteers, according to Sheriff Gary Tribble.

The names of the plane's passengers were not released.  The company specializes in aerial patrol and transportation for oil, gasoline and petrochemical companies.  The plane was believed to be following the Exxon-Mobil pipeline.  Landowners who have a pipeline on their property are asked to call authorities if they find debris or accident damage.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)