A twin-engine Cessna 401 carrying five youths en-route to a Christian Youth Conference crashed after landing in a field in southeastern Kansas, skidding around 200 feet before hitting a tree line and immediately getting engulfed in flames.
The tragedy occurred on Friday, May 11th afternoon around 9 miles west of Chanute, informed Kansas Highway Patrol on their website. The eight-seater plane was headed for the Acquire the Fire Conference in Council Bluffs, Iowa after taking off from an airport near Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The pilot was in contact with the air traffic controllers; but, there was no distress call. There was an altitude change, which was the last transmission, informed Peter Knudson, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Saturday. Of the five persons on the plane, four perished and one girl miraculously survived.
Those killed on the ill-fated flight were the pilot Luke F. Sheets, 23, of Ephraim, Wisconsin; Austin G. Anderson, 27 of Ringwood, Oklahoma; Stephen J. Luth, 22, of Muscatine, Iowa; Garrett V. Coble, 29, of Tulsa. Austin Anderson actually survived the crash, but died later due to his injuries early Saturday. He had served two tours of duty with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq.
22-year-old Hannah Luce a recentUniversity (ORU) graduate and daughter of Oral Roberts trustee and Teen Mania founder Ron Luce, was the lone survivor. The Garden Valley, Texas resident was hospitalized in Kansas City, Missouri. She was in serious but stable condition, with burns on 28% of her body, according to Teen Mania.
Oral Roberts President Mark Rutland in a statement issued on Saturday said: "The entire ORU community grieves for the families of the ORU graduates who lost their lives in this tragic plane accident … May God grant them peace and they reflect on the precious lives that were so dear to their hearts. We continue to pray for those who are recovering."
Meanwhile, NTSB spokesman Knudson told CNN that investigators have not yet identified any witnesses nor did he have any information about the weather conditions at the time of the incident.
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