On Saturday evening, a small Cessna airplane carrying three passengers crashed into Lake Pontchartrain extremely close to the runway of New Orleans’ Lakefront Airport, and on Sunday afternoon, recovery crews were still out in their numbers in the area. Though one of the passengers had been rescued, the bodies of two men were still unaccounted for, even after the wreckage of the small plane was found in the lake.
According to local New Orleans media NOLA the plane’s remains were located on Sunday afternoon as members of the New Orleans Fire Department, New Orleans Police Department divers, U.S. Coast Guard rescue boats, and also a helicopter from the United States Coast Guard continued their search for the pilot and one of the passengers who are still missing from the plane.
After a small plane with three people aboard crashed Saturday evening into just short of the runway at Lakefront Airport, rescuers spent Sunday searching the lake for the wreckage of the aircraft as well as its missing pilot and one of the passengers. Capt. Edwin Holmes of the New Orleans Fire Department reported that divers had found the wreckage of the Cessna plane at about 6:30 p.m. close to the site of the initial crash site in the huge lake – only 1,000 feet from the runway it had been heading for at the airport. The retrieval of the plane is scheduled to begin early Monday morning.
Holmes also said that once the plane is pulled from Lake Pontchartrain it should yield more information on the missing pilot and passenger.
“More information on the two missing passengers should become forthcoming with tomorrow’s recovery effort.”
The person who had been rescued from the crashed plane was a woman who had been sent to Ochsner Hospital after she was rescued from the water by Good Samaritan boaters who had been on a private yacht. They called in a request for help from the Coast Guard. The extent of the woman’s injuries and her current condition were not known up to Sunday evening but first responders reported that they saw her before she was taken to the hospital and had managed to walk on her own from a rescue boat into an awaiting ambulance on the shore. She was able to speak to investigators, but it is believed that she was suffering from shock.
Information released by Lakefront Airport Director Ben Morris on Sunday morning revealed that the Cessna plane had been on its way back from an aerial tour of New Orleans on Saturday when it suddenly disappeared from radar as it was approaching the airport’s runway about 8:15 p.m. The New Orleans Advocate wrote that Morris gave an official statement that the Federal Aviation Administration would be launching an investigation into what exactly caused the plane to crash and also providing assistance for the investigation that the National Transportation Safety Board has planned for the incident.
Two men missing, woman rescued in plane crash over lake https://t.co/ip7xMSycpd— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) August 28, 2016
An investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board has not yet been sent to the scene, but Terry Williams, a spokesman for the agency, says that they have begun “gathering information,” and a preliminary report on the investigation and its findings should become available within the next few days.
There is no information currently available regarding neither the rescued woman nor the pilot and the other passenger who are still missing, but the pilot was a private one who had logged over 10,000 hours of flight and had chartered the small plane from a flight school at the airport. Morris said that the chances of finding survivors hours after a crash like that into the water are “grim” but the Coast Guard has not given any time frame for when they intend to call off the search and rescue efforts for the two missing men.
In addition to rescue boats and a helicopter, the divers from the police department are also using sonar technology to help in the search for the missing men.
[Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images]