A Piper Fixed Wing Multi-Engine aircraft carrying six passengers crashed in the parking lot of a post office about a mile away from Lafayatte Regional Airport this morning. The passengers were on their way to the Peach Bowl playoff game between LSU and Oklahoma in Atlanta; all but one of the passengers was killed in the crash. The victims of the crash included the 51-year-old pilot, a 15-year-old boy, a well-known sports reporter from Louisiana and the daughter-in-law of the LSU football program’s offensive coordinator, and others.
The only survivor of the plane crash is currently in critical condition. Three more people who were in the post office and a nearby jewelry store were injured and are being treated for smoke inhalation. Lafayette Fire Department Chief Robert Benoit said they seemed to be okay. However, at least one report said that someone who was injured in the plane crash but was not a passenger was in critical condition. That patient was transferred to a hospital in New Orleans.
The investigation surrounding the plane crash has not been publicized, but witnesses reported that the plane hit a power line. One witness described how the plane hit the power line post first, then hit an SUV and a Jeep, where “it just blew up.” Another resident said the foggy conditions that morning might have contributed to the crash, theorizing that the poor visibility might have caused the plane to invert without the pilot’s knowledge.
The plane, which is owned by Cheyenne Partners LLC in Lafayette, went down only two minutes after takeoff. NTSB investigators are en route to the crash site to get definitive answers. More information is expected by tomorrow or Monday.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families; we hope the investigation yields answers about what happened.