STOTTS CITY, Mo. —
Federal investigators have yet to determine what caused a twin-engine airplane to crash Sunday night near Stotts City, killing both people on board.
The names of the victims have not been released, pending the results of autopsies planned for today and the notification of next of kin.
National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigators arrived Monday at the scene of the crash along Route F, just south of County Road 2120 and about four miles west of Stotts City.
Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay said the aircraft crashed shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday in a heavily wooded area about 50 yards southwest of a vacant house. The plane was in flames when the Stotts City Fire Department arrived at the scene. Two bodies were recovered from the wreckage, he said.
“Because of the amount of destruction, there’s just no way to identify them as yet,” DeLay said.
Leah Yeager, a senior air safety investigator with the NTSB office in Arlington, Texas, confirmed that the plane was a 1956 Cessna 310. A plane of that make and model is registered to a Joplin resident in FAA records, but investigators were not releasing the tail or serial numbers of the downed plane by which ownership might be confirmed.
Yeager said the plane is believed to have been engaged in a local flight even if the aircraft’s destination remains uncertain.
“I’m not sure if a flight plan was filed,” Yeager said. “I know they departed out of Monett, and I believe they were on a local flight.”
DeLay indicated that the pilot may have been training the other occupant of the plane, although that has yet to be confirmed, he said.
Yeager said investigators could complete the on-scene portion of their investigation sometime today. The aircraft’s wreckage will then be moved to a secure site for further examination, she said. The NTSB will release a preliminary report within five days and a final report within a couple of months, she said.
County Coroner Don Lakin said the bodies were received at the Lakin Funeral Home in Pierce City, with autopsies scheduled to be performed today.
“We are not sure we will have the names of the victims even then,” Lakin said.
He said dental records may be needed to identify the victims.
DeLay indicated that there may be some witnesses to the crash expected to be interviewed by investigators.