LAFAYETTE — Our 10 p.m. newscast with the latest details on Saturday’s deadly plane crash in Lafayette:
A small plane headed to the LSU game in Atlanta crashed in the parking lot of the post office on Pinhook Road Saturday morning. Five of the six people on board the plane were killed. It happened about a mile from the Lafayette Regional Airport near the intersection of Feu Follet and Verot school Road, just after 9:00 a.m.
Authorities say there was a small fire involving the plane and one vehicle was fully engulfed. Both fires were quickly extinguished and a search and rescue was conducted.
First responders says that six people were on board that plane, which is a Piper Fixed Wing Multi-Engine aircraft. Only one survived that crash.
Below we’ve included the names of the five deceased victims, along with tributes posted from those who knew them:
Ian E. Biggs, 51, the plane’s pilot. His LinkedIn profile says he has worked as a pilot and aircraft manager for Global Data Systems since April 2001.
Robert Vaughn Crisp, II, 59. Crisp was the vice president of operations at Global Data Systems, according to the company’s website, starting there in 2008. His bio also says he has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications and data industries, from field tech for a local telephone company to successfully building his own cabling business.
Carley McCord, around 30. McCord was a Baton Rouge native and sports reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans, according to her website. She also appeared as a sideline reporter for ESPN. McCord previously worked in television in Cleveland, and she was a two-time runner-up in the Miss Louisiana pageant.
Steven Ensminger Jr., the son of the offensive coordinator for the Louisiana State University football team, said his wife, Carley McCord, was on board the flight and died when it crashed. He said the plane was en route to the Peach Bowl.
“I just don’t feel like this is real,” Ensminger Jr. told the AP in an Instagram message. “I’m praying it’s not real.”
“We are devastated by the loss of such an amazing talent and valued member of our WDSU family,” said WDSU President and General Manager, Joel Vilmenay. “Carley’s passion for sports journalism and her deep knowledge of Louisiana sports, from high school to the professional ranks, made her an exceptional journalist. “
Gretchen Vincent, 51
Michael Walker Vincent, 15
Gretchen is the wife of Global Data Systems President, Chris Vincent, and mother to Michael “Walker” Vincent who attended school at Ascension Episcopal High School and was on the plane with her.
Another passenger, Stephen Wade Berzas, 37, was injured in the crash and was transported to a local hospital. Authorities say he is in critical condition. He also works for Global Data Systems, as Vice President of Sales, having joined the company in 2012.
Three other individuals were injured on the ground who were not passengers. Two individuals who were in the post office were transported to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, according to Lafayette Fire Department Chief Robert Benoit. He added that they seem to be okay.
The owner of a Lafayette jewelry store has confirmed that a family member was one of the victims on the ground that was injured following the plane crash. Danielle Truxillo Britt is a familiar face for our viewers, as s survivor of childhood cancer. We first interviewed her in the mid-1990’s about her journey with St. Jude and her battle with non-hodgkins lymphoma. Her father’s update is below.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support Danielle Britt’s medical expenses. You can find that
Lafayette General Medical Center says that one patient was received at the facility’s trauma center at 9:58 a.m. That patient was listed in critical condition and was confirmed to be a bystander who was injured in a nearby parking lot. This patient was transferred to a facility in New Orleans.
Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center says they also received a patient from the plane crash this morning and that patient was in critical condition.
Details on the reason for the crash have not been released but witnesses say that the plane, which is a small 8 passenger plane, hit a power line.
“When that airplane tilted, it hit that post first then hit that suburban and Jeep…then it just blew up,” a witness told KATC.
A resident in the area says that the weather may have been a factor in the crash.
“He was crashing, he was going down. I think he got inverted in the fog and couldn’t see,” nearby resident Terry Lavergne said, “Once he came out of the fog he wasn’t high at all. I think he tried to throttle up and by the time he throttled up, he was facing the ground. He hit hard.”
Another witness, Alexis West, told us bystanders were able to rescue the person who survived the crash from plane moments after it came down.
“They pulled a guy out of the burning flames. They brought him out and put him on the ground,” says West. She said it was then she saw a vehicle upside down, also burnt, describing the scene as “horrible.”
The FAA says the plane is a Piper Fixed Wing Multi-Engine aircraft. The registered owner of the plane is Cheyenne Partners LLC based out of Lafayette.
The FAA says that the two-engine Piper Cheyenne, after departing from the Lafayette Regional Airport, crashed under unknown circumstances one mile west of the airport into the parking lot of the post office.
Both the FAA and NTSB investigators are on their way to the accident site and will be taking over the scene to conduct a full investigation.
Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg and team of eight launching to today’s crash scene in Lafayette, LA.
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) December 28, 2019
Investigators with the NTSB have started to arrive in Lafayette. A full team is expected to arrive tomorrow, when they will begin investigating the wreckage. Lafayette Police will remain on scene throughout the night to keep the scene secure. More information on the crash is expected to be released late Sunday night or Monday.
The impact of the crash blew out the windows of the US Post Office off of Verot School Road. The Walmart near the scene was evacuated and closed. 200 people in the area were without power, but that has since been restored.
Lafayette Fire Department, Lafayette Police Department, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lafayette Regional Airport Fire Department, Louisiana State Police, Acadian Ambulance and the Red Cross are all on scene and managing the site.
This morning’s press conference can be viewed below:
A second press conference was held a few hours later, and can be viewed here:
Video from our 12:00 report:
Governor John Bel Edwards tweeted out a message after hearing of the crash.
Video from our first report from Katie Lopez early this morning: