CATEGORY: CAC Car Accidents
HED:FAA views site around plane crash
By Eileen Bailey
FULTON – Federal investigators spent hours Monday combing the wreckage of a plane that crashed Sunday in a heavily wooded area along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
Pilot Alexander Beer-Teissier, 27, of Germany, and his wife, Cecile Beer-Teissier, were treated and released with minor injuries from the North Mississippi Medical Center after crashing their rented four-seat Cherokee 181 near the waterway’s Lock D, about six miles north of Fulton.
Itawamba County Narcotic Agent Chris Loden and two Federal Aviation Administration safety inspectors on Monday sorted through the plane’s wreckage. Deputies from the sheriff’s department checked on the plane throughout Sunday night and Monday morning until aviation investigators could arrive on the scene.
The crash occurred about 6 p.m. Sunday as the couple passed over Itawamba County and, according to a preliminary investigations, ran out of fuel, Loden said.
Residents in the area and at the Midway Marina heard the failing plane fly over.
John Chilcoat, 72, lives on the John E. Rankin Highway about a mile from where the plane went down. Chilcoat was outside in his yard at the time.
“It started to sputter about a mile down the road,” he said. “The plane went about a half-mile, circled and came back. It was flying real low”
He said he didn’t hear the plane crash.
Loden said the couple were in the United States for a vacation and to help Alexander Beer-Teissier, who is a pilot in the German Air Force, build up his flight hours.
The couple rented the plane in Laverne, Calif., and flew to St. Petersburg, Fla. From there they flew to Waycross, Ga., and fueled up. They stopped in Hamilton, Ala., and attempted to fuel up again but could not and headed for Tupelo, Loden said.
One wing of the plane lay to the north of the plane, which was wedged between trees in the swampy area along the east side of the Tennessee-Tombigbee, while the other was propped against a tree.
The nose of the plane remained intact. A large torn limb dangled above the plane as investigators unloaded its contents.
Loden said after the plane crashed the couple walked through thick brown patches of mud to the waterway and were rescued by two bass fishermen.
Charlie Paden, lock operator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lock D, said he received two calls that a plane had crashed and was outside looking for it through binoculars when the two fishermen rode up and told him about the crash. He said they left and a little while later the fishermen, who did not give their names, came back with the victims.
“When they saw that they (the victims) were in capable hands they took off,” he said. “The credit goes to the bass fishermen.”
When the victims were dropped off they walked up to emergency personnel, Paden said.
FAA Safety Inspector Al Davis said he talked to the victims before investigating the wreckage. He said he did not know how long his inspection of the wreckage would take.
The findings of the crash will be sent to the National Transportation and Safety Board, which could release the cause of the wreck within six months.