The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a small plane crash in northeast Mississippi that killed the pilot and a passenger on Tuesday.
NTSB spokesperson Terry Williams says an investigator is on the ground in Monroe County. He added the NTSB would work to determine if weather, the pilot or the condition of the plane played a role in the deadly crash.
“We’re in the very early stages of this investigation,” Williams said. “What we refer to as the fact gathering stage.”
The Mooney M20 plane crashed shortly after takeoff on Tuesday morning, according to FAA spokesperson Kathleen Bergen.
“Local officials found the wreckage about 1/2 mile south of the airport at about 11:40 a.m.,” Bergen said in an email to Fox News.
73-year-old Richard Arlin Justice of Hatley, Miss. and an unamed passenger were on board the aircraft, according to Monroe County coroner Alan Gurley. The plane was headed for Madison, Mississippi when it took off around 6:15 a.m.
Monroe County Airport manager Wes Kirkpatrick said Justice was an experienced pilot. Justice’s plane was based at the Monroe County Airport.
“The piloting community is a very tight-knit community,” Kirkpatrick told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “Everybody who’s based down here is just like family. It is a big shock right now.”
Willie James Inman is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Jackson, Mississippi. Follow him on twitter: @WillieJames