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>>

  • West Monroe woman charged with bigamy

    West Monroe woman charged with bigamy

    Sunday, April 20 2014 2:37 PM EDT2014-04-20 18:37:50 GMT
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Ouachita Parish woman has been arrest for bigamy after one of her husbands filed a complaint.
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Ouachita Parish woman has been arrest for bigamy after one of her husbands filed a complaint.
  • Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after gear fails

    Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after gear fails

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:31:47 GMT
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia Airlines says a flight heading to India made an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur after it was forced to turn back when its right landing gear malfunctioned.
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia Airlines says a flight heading to India made an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur after it was forced to turn back when its right landing gear malfunctioned.
  • Broadcaster Sunny Meriwether, 62, dies Saturday

    Broadcaster Sunny Meriwether, 62, dies Saturday

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:04 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:04:00 GMT
    MONROE, La. - (KNOE 8 News) - Broadcaster and former KEDM news director Sunny Meriwether died Saturday at the age of 62.
    MONROE, La. - (KNOE 8 News) - Broadcaster and former KEDM news director Sunny Meriwether died Saturday at the age of 62.
  • Cypress Inn shut down due to structural issues

    Cypress Inn shut down due to structural issues

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:58:50 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Monroe landmark restaurant is closed by the state of Louisiana.
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Monroe landmark restaurant is closed by the state of Louisiana.
  • Columbia woman arrested for operating meth lab

    Columbia woman arrested for operating meth lab

    Saturday, April 19 2014 4:04 PM EDT2014-04-19 20:04:09 GMT
    COLUMBIA, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Caldwell Parish woman was arrested Friday night for operating a meth lab.
    COLUMBIA, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Caldwell Parish woman was arrested Friday night for operating a meth lab.
  • Gomez, Snider ejected after Brewer-Pirates brawl

    Gomez, Snider ejected after Brewer-Pirates brawl

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:53 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:53:09 GMT
    Brewers CF Carlos Gomez and Pirates OF Travis Snider were ejected from a game Sunday afternoon following a third-inning brawl.
    Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Travis Snider were ejected Sunday after a shouting match quickly escalated into a full-scale brawl.
  • Fire destroys home, being called suspicious

    Fire destroys home, being called suspicious

    Fire destroys home, being called suspicious

    Saturday, April 19 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-04-19 21:54:37 GMT
    CALHOUN, La. (KNOE 8 News) - An early morning fire on Saturday that sent two to the hospital destroyed a Calhoun family's home. Giving little details into the investigation, crews are calling the fire suspicious. And police and investigators are getting two different stories.
    CALHOUN, La. (KNOE 8 News) - An early morning fire on Saturday that sent two to the hospital destroyed a Calhoun family's home. Giving little details into the investigation, crews are calling the fire suspicious. And police and investigators are getting two different stories.
  • Monroe man second arrest in Lil' Snupe murder

    Monroe man second arrest in Lil' Snupe murder

    June 25, 2013 10:44 PM 2013-07-08 21:21:39 GMT
    WINNFIELD, La. (KNOE 8 News ) - Update: Winnfield Police have made a second arrest in the continuing investigation of the homicide death of Addarren Ross, aka "Lil Snupe". 
    WINNFIELD, La. (KNOE 8 News ) - Update: Winnfield Police have made a second arrest in the continuing investigation of the homicide death of Addarren Ross, aka "Lil Snupe". 
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.