An Oklahoma husband and wife on board a single-engine Piper Saratoga airplane that crashed in Madison County on Oct. 21 died in the incident, officials said Tuesday (Oct. 22). They are from Pryor, Okla.
The husband and wife have been identified as Ivan and Adina Williams, owners of Williams Construction Co. in Pryor, Okla., officials said.
Ivan Williams, 63, attended the University of Arkansas from 1968 to 1972, majoring in industrial management, and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, according to his LinkedIn account. He owned Williams Construction since 1977.
Williams Construction laid the concrete structure for the BOK Center in Tulsa and was involved in many other projects, according to the company’s website.
A person answering the company phone before noon on Tuesday said the family would designate a spokesperson later in the day to speak with the media.
The plane was found early Tuesday, according to Robert Loeher with the Civil Air Patrol.
Rescue crews that had been looking for the crash site Monday afternoon and evening resumed their efforts Tuesday at 7 a.m. The last place crews were searching for the plane is between Mountain Road and Ball Creek Road near Saint Paul.
Two people were on the single-engine Piper Saratoga that crashed in the rural area of the county about 15 miles south of Huntsville.
Phyllis Turner lives near the search area. She said she heard a loud impact.
“I think it was around 2:10, 2:30 when I heard the boom,” Turner said. “Something had to happen somewhere because there was no traffic out here at all.”
Emergency crews and law enforcement searched for the plane crash site for several hours Monday, but did not find anything, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.
A single-engine plane’s operator notified air-traffic control that the plane was experiencing problems. Then the operator never checked back in with air traffic controllers, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Crews first searched an area about 12 miles south of Huntsville, near Pettigrew, then began searching the Ball Creek area near Saint Paul, officials said.
The plane took off Monday from Sylacauga, Ala., at 11:01 a.m., headed for Claremore, Okla., according to flight records. The plane was supposed to arrive in Claremore about 3 p.m. but is believed to have crashed about 30 minutes before that time in rainy weather near Huntsville.
The plane was losing altitude near Huntsville at about 156 knots, or about 170 miles per hour, when it last showed up on radar, an official said.
The 1997 single-engine Piper Saratoga aircraft was registered in Kernersville, N.C., to Airmart Aircraft Holdings, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website. However, the company sold the plane around Sept. 1 to someone from Oklahoma, said Robert Sutherlin, Airmart’s director of sales and leasing.
Sutherlin said the recent 16-day federal shutdown apparently has caused a backlog delaying the FAA in updating its website to show the current owner.
(A local pilot took 5NEWS up in a plane to see the crash site from the air. See that video below.)