Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

January 2, 2013

Deadly Ala. plane crash may have been teen joyride

JASPER, Ala. (AP) — Investigators believe a small plane that crashed in the Alabama woods was taken without permission for a joyride by a student pilot and two other teenagers who died in the wreck Tuesday night.

Walker County sheriff's Chief Deputy James Painter said Wednesday authorities are still investigating but believe the three teenagers took off in the plane before it went down in a wooded area near Jasper, northwest of Birmingham.

"We don't know for sure but we think it was some teenagers who stole the plane and were sort of joyriding it," Painter told The Associated Press. "They got it in and took off and didn't go very far."

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Piper PA 30 crashed less than a mile from the Walker County Airport in Jasper.

The names of the three occupants of the plane haven't been released.

"I think they were just looking for a thrill and they had their last one," Painter said.

The plane had departed from the small airport around 10:30 p.m. in overcast skies and a low cloud ceiling, airport manager Edwin Banks said.

"It was a student pilot flying an airplane without permission, an airplane that he was not qualified to fly at night," Banks said. He declined to name the student before authorities release the identities.

The teenage pilot had flown a single-engine airplane in the past "and he got in a double-engine at night in bad weather with a couple of his buddies," Banks said.

The Piper PA 30 is also called a Piper Twin Comanche. It is a low-wing plane with two propellers and can seat four to six, depending on the model.

The planes were built from 1963 until 1972, and were popular with flight schools because of their fuel efficiency and relatively inexpensive price tags, according to the International Comanche Society, an enthusiasts' group.

___

Associated Press writers Jeff Martin and Phillip Lucas in Atlanta contributed to this report.

1
Text Only
National and World
Local News
AP Video
Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military
Sister Newspapers' News