RICHWOOD, La. (AP) — Federal investigators are trying to determine why a plane crashed in the woods behind Ouachita Correctional Center in Richwood, killing four people.
The News-Star reports (http://tnsne.ws/V3aewT ) investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene Friday to begin collecting evidence and witness testimony for their initial investigation.
NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said a Beechcraft Bonanza crashed Thursday afternoon about four miles south of the Monroe Regional Airport.
The airplane was owned by Central Flying Service, Inc. of Little Rock, Ark. It was arriving at Monroe from Beaumont, Texas.
The company confirmed that Mason Mauldin, of Little Rock, was the pilot killed in the crash. The News-Star reported that Mauldin was a member of three Little Rock-based bands: Sugar & The Raw, Big Boots and Collin vs. Adam.
Also killed were three northeastern Louisiana residents identified as Dean Hart Sr., of West Monroe, owner of Hart Commercial Investments; Don Thompson, of Monroe, who worked 40 years for Replacement Parts Incorporated; and Max Larche, of Bastrop, an engineer with Lazenby & Associates in West Monroe.
"Words can simply not express what Don meant to our company; and more importantly the people in it. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten by those who knew him," RPI said in a statement.
Wes Shafto, a Monroe attorney who works with Hart's company, described Hart as a visionary businessman.
"He was so astute and focused," Shafto said. "He was super sharp with an incredible ability to size up a deal and the ability to put everything together."
Kevin Crosby, a partner in Lazenby & Associates, said Larche was a top-notch engineer and devoted family man.
"Our firm not only lost a good partner, but a good friend," Crosby said. "He was a stand-up guy, honest and trustworthy, who adored his family."
Police said the single-engine A-36 Beechcraft Bonanza radioed in for landing at the Monroe airport at about 1:45 p.m. Thursday. The airport lost contact with the plane about four minutes later.
Williams said the investigation could take nine months to one year to complete.
Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com