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One dead in southern Boone County plane crash


A small plane went down in southern Boone County on Tuesday, killing one person, a Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The plane crashed a little before 12:30 p.m., the spokesperson said.

The FAA reported a Piper PA-46 crashed near Ashland at about 12:40 p.m. Only one person was on board.

First responders were working calls in the Hartsburg area that appeared to be related to the crash. Firefighters and sheriff's deputies had part of Hart Creek Road and Christian School Road blocked off. A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was expected to arrive Wednesday, the NTSB says.

Flight-tracking website Flightradar 24 showed a Piper PA-46 was en route from Madison, Wisconsin, to Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Records show the plane was diverted to Columbia Regional Airport before disappearing over southern Boone County.

Former NTSB Chair Jim Hall said investigators at the scene will likely be joined by the Federal Aviation Administration and possibly someone from Piper Aircraft. Hall said they'll work to organize the onsite portion of the investigation, which could take anywhere from "one day to a couple of days."

A preliminary report will be completed that may indicate possible causes for the crash.

Hall said there are multiple factors that are taken into consideration in major commercial accident investigations. Those include human performance, power plants, operations, structure, air traffic control survival factors and weather. However, in this case, the number of individuals that are required will depend on the facts investigators gather while on site.

"If there are issues regarding the weather he may ask for expertise in that area, if there are other areas in terms of air traffic many cases there may be tapes" Hall said. "Probably unusual that a plane this size has a black box but there are recording devices that are coming now on smaller and smaller general aircrafts, aviation aircrafts and help in the investigations."

The cause will likely not be determined for six months to a year, according to Hall.

David Whitesides, who lives off Palis Nichols Road near the crash site said he was outside when he heard something fall and found a piece of the plane that he believes came off the tail.

Another witness, Mike Kilfoil said he saw the plane fall from the sky while outside on his front porch diving at a steep angle.

"The plane came down and it actually took me a moment to identify it as a plane because there were some parts that was the plane was not intact as it came down," Kilfoil said.

Braden Tyrer is a pilot in Mid-Missouri who viewed the flight's path on Flight Aware -- a website that identifies the paths of airplanes. Tyrer said Flight Aware monitors the rate of descent for a plane. He said the plane's rate initially showed rates that are consistent with light turbulence, but that changed as it neared Hartsburg. This will not be determined until the report is completed.

"Just 30 seconds later to a minute later, he's doing almost 3,000 per minute (descent) and that starts to get a little bit excessive," Tyrer said. "A pilot in good control of the airplane, unless there's an emergency at bay, would likely not find themselves at that airspeed."

In times where pilots find themselves running into similar scenarios time plays a large role Tyrer said. He said making the decision whether to attempt to continue flying, or make an emergency landing depends on the pilot and their experience.

"You need to understand your own personal capabilities and when flying we call that personal minimums," Tyrer said. "Oftentimes, you know, for especially for new pilots the weakness is in yourself, the aircraft can handle it."

However, he noted he believes the pilot in this scenario experienced a loss of control that was unrecoverable.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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