Plane Carrying Skydivers Crashes, Killing Four

A small plane carrying skydivers crashed shortly after takeoff Saturday, killing four people on board and injuring four others, authorities and witnesses said.

Early reports indicated the plane may have struck a telephone pole, then clipped a house before hitting the ground, Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said.

He said the extent of the injuries sustained by the survivors was unclear.

The plane had taken off from the Sullivan Regional Airport in eastern Missouri a short time before the crash, said patrol operator Ken Tretter.

The plane was making a skydiving flight for Quantum Leap Skydiving Inc., said Mark Lacy, safety and training adviser for the company, which is located in Sullivan. There were eight people aboard, he said.

"It's a crash, and it's bad," Lacy said.

Toelke and Lacy did not know what caused the crash.

"It's all speculation," Lacy said. "There will have to be an FAA investigation on that."

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.