MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)-Two people are dead after a plane crashes just after takeoff from the Monroe County Airport Tuesday morning.
Corner Alan Gurley confirmed that 73-year old Richard Justice was flying the plane and is one of the victims.
Monroe Conty EMA Director Bunky Goza said it was approximately 6:15 Tuesday morning when the single engine Mooney M20 aircraft flew out of the airport heading to Madison for a business trip.
However, the privately owned plane never made it out of Monroe County.
“The pilot and the plane never made its destination to the Madison airport,” said Bunky Goza, Monroe County EMA Director. “When we received information from them that the plane did not make it. At approximately 10 A.M. the search was initiated by the Monroe County search and rescue incorporation with MEMA and local assets”
Crews searched tirelessly for the missing plane. After searching for nearly an hour, the aircraft was finally located.
“The aircraft was located in a heavily wooded area approximately a mile and a half southwest of the airport here in Aberdeen,” Goza described.
“It was a heavily wooded area,” said Wes Kirkpatrick, manager of the Monroe County Airport. “We got to it by foot initially, then a four wheeler was able to get in there after the fact.”
Two passengers were on board when the plane took off, both died during the crash.
“Our hearts are with the family at the times, this very difficult time,” said Goza. “It’s a very emotional scene.”
At this time, only the pilot’s name is being released. Gurley tells WCBI, the name of the passenger is not being released at this time at the family’s request.
Workers at the airport said the pilot, Justice, flies from the airport often.
They also said he’s well known in the area, which is why this tragic accident is sending shock waves throughout this entire community.
“The pilot of the community is a very tight knit community,” said Kirkpatrick. “Everybody that bass down here it’s just like family, so, it’s a big shock right now.”
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be in Monroe County Tuesday morning to continue the investigation.