The Latest: Investigator says plane dropped debris on runway

AP News
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Posted: May 17, 2016 5:23 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a plane crash in Mississippi that killed four people (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator says a plane that crashed Monday in Mississippi dropped exhaust system parts on a runway as it was taking off.

Millicent Hoidal said Tuesday that debris was recovered when the runway at Tupelo Regional Airport was swept.

She says pilot Henry "Jack" Jackson radioed the airport's tower twice seeking to return, reporting smoke in the cockpit. He had been cleared to land when the plane crashed about a half-mile north of the airport. Jackson, his wife, and two others died. All were Kerrville, Texas, residents.

Hoidal says investigators will finish examining the burned debris at the site Tuesday and remove it for further examination elsewhere.

Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green says the state crime lab is trying to identify the bodies using dental records.

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10:30 a.m.

Mississippi officials say two couples from Texas died in a plane crash near Tupelo Regional Airport.

Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green says the dead include the pilot, 75-year-old Henry Jackson and his wife, 70-year-old Gwynn Groggel. Another married couple, 69-year-old Charles Torti and 59-year-old Carrie Torti, also died. All were residents of Kerrville, Texas.

Green says she identified the victims by interviewing family members and checking a flight manifest.

The bodies were badly burned in a fire after the Beechcraft Bonanza registered to Jackson and Groggel crashed just after takeoff Monday. The plane was scheduled to fly to Charlottesville, Virginia.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac said the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit before the crash.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

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This story has been corrected to show that a victim's last name is spelled Groggel, not Groggell.