Tupelo Fire Chief takes part in multi agency review of stolen plane incident

Tupelo Fire Department was the lead agency during the incident as the plane was flying over the city

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – The Tupelo Fire chief says a multi-agency review has taken place regarding the stolen plane incident that gripped the region this past Saturday.

As the plane circled west Tupelo Saturday morning, the Tupelo Fire Department was the lead agency in the emergency response. Fire Chief Kelly Elliott says there was a lot of coordination among many agencies, during a very fluid situation.

“We had people representing the FAA, the airport, Lee County Sheriff, a trained, licensed pilot to talk to him, law enforcement, Chief Quaka, and his crew, FBI, there are some jurisdictional boundaries you get into, especially when you get in the air, above an airport, it really worked out well,” said Chief Elliott.

Chief Elliott got the call from his battalion chief only moments after 29-year-old Cory Patterson reportedly stole the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air from the Tupelo Regional Airport.

Patterson called 9 1 1, threatening to crash into the West Main Wal-Mart.   For five hours, he was in the air, eventually flying north, and landing in a soybean field in Tippah County.

He was arrested and is charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats.

On Wednesday, Chief Elliott was part of an “After Action Review” involving the TSA, and other agencies.

“We distributed our resources and we tried to make sure we weren’t a target ourselves,” Elliott said.

Chief Elliott says overall things went as well as could be expected, especially, he says when you consider the nature of the event and the fact that no one had responded to an event like that before.

“It was definitely a unique situation, more or less a situation you probably would encounter in a exercise or class, but I have to say in my almost thirty years of fire experience I haven’t dealt with this situation,” he said.

Now, the chief says an “After Action Report” will be written, looking at the multi agency response, and will be added to an already extensive emergency response plan.

Chief Elliott also wants to thank the negotiators with Tupelo Police and his battalion chief , Terry Robinson, for all their work during the incident.


Categories: Featured, Local News