First responders have found the bodies of two people who were in a plane that crashed in Western Kentucky Wednesday, according to the Ohio County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police.
Emergency dispatchers were alerted by the Evansville Airport Control Tower of a possible plane crash at 10:55 p.m., the sheriff’s office said. Several agencies in the area responded to Deserter Creek Road and Old Deserter Creek Road to set up a command post and search for the two people — an instructor pilot and a student pilot — who were in the plane when it crashed.
The Ohio County Sheriff’s Office said it hoped to find the pilots alive, but Kentucky State Police announced later Thursday morning that two bodies had been found.
“The airplane was reported missing last night by FAA,” State Trooper Corey King said in a statement posted to social media. “A debris field was located by drone earlier this morning.”
The victims were identified as pilot Timothy A. McKellar Jr., 22 of Custer, and flight student Connor W. Quisenberry, 18 of Beaver Dam, according to KSP.
KSP and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating, according to King.
A preliminary listing of the crash in FAA records indicated that the plane was a Piper PA-28, a small single-engine plane. The plane was owned by Eagle Flight Academy in Owensboro, according to FAA records. Eagle Flight Academy didn’t immediately respond to phone messages and emails Thursday, but shared a statement to Facebook.
“Our deep felt sorrow goes out to the families and friends of the deceased from last night’s plane crash,” the academy said in a social media post. “Thoughts and Prayers to all involved.”
The Eagle Flight Academy provides plane rentals, aircraft supplies and pilot training supplies in addition to serving as a flight school.
The sheriff’s office said the plane was going from Bowling Green to Owensboro when the airport tower lost contact with it. A severe thunderstorm had developed in the area when the crash happened.
The sheriff’s office said officials used the flight path and location information from a pilot’s phone to set up the search area. The search eventually moved near New Panther Creek Church in Ohio County.
Flight tracking information from FlightAware indicated the plane had major speed fluctuations and descended at a sharp rate just before it lost contact with a flight tower.
This is a developing story and may be updated.