Latest on Plane Crash Investigation - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Batesville, AR -- Will Carter Reports

Latest on Plane Crash Investigation

January 6, 2007 -- Posted at 9:45 p.m. CST

BATESVILLE- Saturday the National Transportation Safety Board held a news conference at the Batesville Regional Airport.

We were told their primary focus at the crash site is to collect facts that could prevent a similar situation from happening.

On Thursday, Craig Myer (observer) and Joel Diffie (pilot) lost their lives when the single engine Cessna 182-R plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area less than a mile from the Batesville Regional Airport.

The plane was registered to Barr Air Patrol of Mesquite, TX and was being used to survey petroleum pipelines belonging to Exxon Mobil.  The plane that left Doniphan, MO on Thursday crashed around 12:40 that afternoon amidst rain and fog.

"The first impact was a tall..nearly 60 foot tree. It looks like the left landing gear hit that tree.  The branches are broken off progressively all the way down to the ground at an angle," said Timothy LeBaron, an investigator with N.T.S.B.

We are told the plane was on a flight direction, that leads investigators to believe it was heading in to the airport.

N.T.S.B. officials are currently sifting through the wreckage trying to determine if there were any malfunctions by equipment.  "We go through all the flight controls to see if they were all working at the time, and we look at the engine to see if it was working at the time," said LeBaron.

They tell us they approach any crash with a three-point system.  The man, the machine, and the environment.  We are told all three of those can play major roles into determining what actually caused an aircraft to go down.

We are told N.T.S.B.'s preliminary report will be on their web site www.ntsb.gov next week.  However, it could be months before a definite cause of the accident can be determined.

The wreckage of the plane is set to be removed from the property just as soon as investigators wrap up their work.

If you have story ideas or comments, Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.

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