Investigation continues, and mourners speak about victims - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Investigation continues, and mourners speak about victims in plane crash

Posted: Updated:

OAK RIDGE La. (KNOE 8 News) - A two-person plane crashed in a heavily wooded area in a riverbed off of Rolfe Lane in Morehouse Parish.

"We traveled out here and we're conducting the on scene portion of the investigation. Where we go in and we look at the whole air craft," said Leah Yeager, NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator.

Yeager said they're looking at log books and weather conditions at the time 28-year old Jonathan Whitacer and 74-year old Clarence Collins "also known as Ed" were flying.

Collins was an instructor at flying tiger aviation out of Rayville for four years, and he was training Whitacer how to dust crops at the time of the fatal crash.

Investigators said they have recovered all parts of the small Citabria trainer plane.

"A GPS, a global positioning system, and we did retrieve that and were going to send it up to headquarters to our recording division to see if they can get any data off of it," said Yeager.

Whitacer was from Indiana and had been training about 30 hours before the crash, and Collins from Lincoln Parish had been an instructor for four years.

Officials at Flying Tiger Aviation said this is the first and only crash in 15 years and crew members at a Rayville company are trying to make sense of losing the experienced pilot and a young trainee.

"We are, we're terribly upset," said Robert McCurdy, Flying Tiger Aviation Chief Pilot.

Flying Tiger Aviation crew members are mourning the deaths of instructor Collins and his trainee Whitacer.

"Everything is grounded right now. We're not flying. And we'll probably get re-grouped and start again next week," said McCurdy. "He was an excellent instructor, an excellent pilot, had a good rapport with all of us here at Flying Tiger, and all of his students.

Employees at flying tiger aviation said Whitacer was the kind of young flyer they love to have, because his enthusiasm was contagious.

He had been here, flown about 30 plus hours with us and got along with all the other students and instructors," said McCurdy.   

And Robert McCurdy says this plane is very similar to the one that Collins and Whitacer were flying in at the time of the crash.

Collins co-worker's are confused, and are still wondering how the crash happened.

"In 15 years that we've been here, this is the first accident in which anyone had ever been hurt," said McCurdy.

Collins was Flying Tiger Aviation's most experienced instructor.

"A highly experienced pilot which leaves us very much bewildered as to why this even happened," said McCurdy.

Friday morning NTSB and FAA Investigators were at the scene of the crash starting the process of figuring out just what happened Thursday morning.

Investigators tell us the plane was not carrying any of the materials used to dust crops at the time of the crash.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Comedian Joan Rivers hospitalized in New York City

    Comedian Joan Rivers hospitalized in New York City

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:21 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:21:49 GMT
    NEW YORK (AP) - Joan Rivers is in a New York City hospital, one day after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office.
    NEW YORK (AP) - Joan Rivers is in a New York City hospital, one day after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office.
  • Teacher accused of having sex with 2 students

    Teacher accused of having sex with 2 students

    Thursday, August 28 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:53:04 GMT
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Riverdale Christian Academy administrators have fired English teacher Ashley Dowden following her confession to deputies that she had sex with a 16-year-old student.
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Riverdale Christian Academy administrators have fired English teacher Ashley Dowden following her confession to deputies that she had sex with a 16-year-old student.
  • Local Red Cross Chapter slashed in cutbacks

    Local Red Cross Chapter slashed in cutbacks

    Thursday, August 28 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-08-28 18:22:44 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Big changes at the American Red Cross on a national level are having an effect on local staffing. As part of restructuring, the Northeast Louisiana Chapter based in Monroe is loosing its executive director and three other full time employees.
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Big changes at the American Red Cross on a national level are having an effect on local staffing. As part of restructuring, the Northeast Louisiana Chapter based in Monroe is loosing its executive director and three other full time employees.
  • Shooting on Lowery Street

    Shooting on Lowery Street

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:08 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:08:38 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 NEWS) - Shooting on Lowery Street sends one person to the hospital.
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 NEWS) - Shooting on Lowery Street sends one person to the hospital.
  • Stabbing on Church Street

    Stabbing on Church Street

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:14 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:14:01 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 NEWS) - Multiple stab wounds sends one to the hospital.
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 NEWS) - Multiple stab wounds sends one to the hospital.
  • Former Presidents to launch Presidential Leadership Scholars Program

    Former Presidents to launch Presidential Leadership Scholars Program

    Friday, August 29 2014 3:16 PM EDT2014-08-29 19:16:28 GMT
    Washinton, DC. (KNOE 8 News &  Media Advisory for Bush and Clinton)- On September 8, 2014, President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton will announce the launch of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a partnership between the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
    Washington, DC. (KNOE 8 News &  Media Advisory for Bush and Clinton)-On September 8, 2014, President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton will announce the launch of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a partnership between the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • Police: Drugs, alcohol not factors in Freeh crash

    Police: Drugs, alcohol not factors in Freeh crash

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-08-26 20:40:02 GMT
    Former FBI director Louis Freeh has been hospitalized following a single-car crash in Vermont.
    Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the single-car crash in Vermont that seriously injured former FBI director Louis Freeh, state police said Tuesday.
  • Pipe beating leads to arrest

    Pipe beating leads to arrest

    Thursday, August 28 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-08-28 21:02:44 GMT
    UNION PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - A Junction City man has been booked into the Union Parish Detention Center accused of striking another man in the head with a pipe.
    UNION PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - A Junction City man has been booked into the Union Parish Detention Center accused of striking another man in the head with a pipe.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KNOE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.