MEMPHIS, Ind. (AP) — A Chicago-bound jet crashed in southern Indiana shortly after taking off from a local airport Friday, and investigators believe everyone on board the small twin-engine plane was killed, according to police.
Flight plans indicate that three people were on the plane when it left Clark Regional Airport on its way to Chicago’s Midway Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham said. Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel said it was initially unclear how many people were on the plane when it crashed, but investigators confirmed multiple fatalities and don’t believe anyone on board survived.
The sheriff said the plane could carry as many as 10 people. Noel said it wasn’t immediately clear who owned the plane, which the National Transportation Safety Board identified as a Cessna Citation.
Among the victims was Louisville, Kentucky, architect Wayne Estopinal, 63. He was a board member and alumnus of Ball State University, which confirmed his death in a statement signed by school President Geoffrey Mearns and Board of Trustees Chair Rick Hall.
Louisville’s Courier Journal reported Estopinal also chaired the Muncie, Indiana, university’s academic/student affairs committee and alumni council. He was founder of Louisville City FC soccer franchise, but later sold his interest.
The Associated Press on Friday called TEG Architects, Estopinal’s architectural firm, for comment but the call went unanswered.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said the victims’ identities would be released by Clark County Coroner Bill Scott. Messages were left by the AP for him and his office spokesman.
The jet crashed around 11:30 a.m. in a rural area near Memphis, Indiana, which is about 15 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky. Noel said it appears the plane crashed shortly after taking off from the airport, which is about 10 miles from the crash site.
Helicopter video from WLKY-TV shows small pieces of smoldering debris scattered in the wooded area with numerous charred trees. Noel said there was nothing at the crash site that “people would recognize easily as an aircraft.”
NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said no information on a possible crash cause was immediately available. Federal investigators were expected to arrive at the scene Saturday.