NTSB releases prelimary report in deadly Derby plane crash
The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report into a plane crash that killed a traveling evangelist and his pilot.
The Cessna 500 Citation crashed in a field near Derby Oct. 18 just after 10:15 a.m. Witnesses reported seeing a plane with no wing, and a trial of white smoke going toward the ground near 95th St. South and Webb. Most of the debris was near the "main impact crater," but one of the plane's wings was found nearly a mile away.
Edward Dufresne, a 72-year-old traveling pastor with World Harvest Church, and his longtime pilot, Mitchell Morgan, died in the fiery crash.
The NTSB reported the multi-engine turbofan plane left Mid-Continent Airport at 10:07 a.m., en route to New Braunfels Regional Airport in Texas.
Preliminary data from Federal Aviation Administration showed normal operations during climb before the pilot contacted the FAA Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center and reported leveling at 15,000 feet. The controller cleared the pilot to proceed direct to Millsap, Texas and climb to 23,000 feet. Over the next minute, the aircraft made an abrupt right turn followed by an abrupt left turn. Radar data showed the airplane descended to 14,600 feet before resuming climb and reaching 15,200 ft. The aircraft then made an abrupt descending left turn and radar and radio contact was lost.
Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane below the clouds in a nose down vertical dive. One witness reported that after impact he saw a fireball about 500 feet high followed by a column of smoke.
The NTSB said McConnell Air Force Base reported a northeast wind at 12 knots, light rain, and a broken ceiling at 1,700 ft. that day. The pilot reported light to moderate icing conditions above 6,000 ft. shortly before the accident.