Plane Crashes In Neighborhood; 3 Dead In Mississippi Accident

By Staff Reporter on November 14, 2012 10:46 AM EST

Piper PA-32
Piper PA-32 (Photo: Creative Commons)

A small, single-engine Piper PA-32 aircraft crashed into a house in the quiet neighborhood of Jackson, Mississippi, Tuesday evening, killing all three occupants in the plane. Fortunately the resident inside the house managed to only suffer minor injuries.

According to sources, the small Piper airplane had only just taken off from Hawkens Field Airport when the pilot realized the plane began to falter. Losing altitude, the plane also struck a number of trees before impacting the house. According to an officer that watched on, the plane seemed as if it had ran out of fuel. "It was spitting and sputtering and ... starving for fuel."

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Neighbors at the scene witnessed the wreck sending large flames as well as rising black smoke as far as 50 feet from the house that was struck. The house was a single family home surrounded by large magnolia and oak trees.

Sources report that the plane left the airport at 5:10 p.m. and was headed for an FAA safety conference at Raymond, Mississippi, just 25 miles away. Shortly after take off, the pilot radioed flight control for permission to return to the airport, said Jackson Municipal Aiprot Authority in a statement. Unfortunately, the plane never made it back.

According to Roger Latham, the owner of the Piper aircraft, the plane had not flown in a month and a short inspection flight was supposed to be conducted before he would fly to Gulf Shores, Alabama, for the Thanksgiving holiday. Latham has owned the Piper PA-32 for two and a half years now and insists the properly maintained aircraft was in great condition.

According to wife Michele Latham, all three men aboard the aircraft during the incident were trained pilots. In fact, Roger Latham identified one of the victims in the crash as John Edward Tilton Jr., his flight instructor. A tragic loss, Latham said, "He was one of the finest Christian men I knew."

Authorities have declined to confirm the identities of the two other victims involved in the crash. The Hinds County Coroner will confirm the identities of the bodies via dental records and DNA samples in a future date.

Finally, the National Transportation Safety Board will be working with the FAA to investigate the cause of the crash. The weather conditions during the flight were partly cloudy and in the 40s.

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