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Investigators Seek Answers After 2 Small Planes Crash

Tragedy: Accidents in Missouri and New Jersey claim a total of 10 lives. Neither yielded any immediate clues to experts scouring the sites.

December 11, 1999|From Associated Press

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. — Students at tiny College of the Ozarks quietly returned to their books and campus jobs Friday, trying to cope with the loss of six of their own killed in a plane crash.

And in New Jersey, investigators said the pilot of a small plane that crashed and killed all four aboard had been in contact with air traffic controllers moments before he crashed but made no distress call.

In southwestern Missouri, the college-owned Cessna Citation crashed Thursday after clipping trees near the resort town of Branson. The six people on board were returning from a day trip to St. Louis, where one had received a teaching award.

Going back to work may have been an appropriate way to pay homage to the crash victims from College of the Ozarks, a school nicknamed "Hard Work U" because the students work in exchange for tuition.

"I think the students are closer with the faculty and staff because of the work program here," said senior Jason Oliver. "And when you have a tragedy like this, it shakes everyone that much more."

The crash killed a graphic arts professor, an administrator, their spouses, the pilot and a student co-pilot, the school said.

The college, founded in 1906, draws many of its 1,500 students from Midwestern farms or families who have worked overseas as missionaries.

Federal investigators on began scouring the crash site Friday. Debris lay scattered over 100 yards on the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area, a heavily wooded nature reserve west of Branson.

Investigators have ruled out an explosion on the plane, said David Bowling of the National Transportation Safety Board.

In Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., a six-seat Beech Baron 58TC crashed between two homes in a residential neighborhood shortly after 5:30 p.m. Thursday, setting a garage on fire and clipping a back porch with its wing.

The plane had departed about 90 minutes earlier from a private airstrip in Hanover County, Va.

Air traffic controllers had just given the pilot a landing maneuver that called for him to cross one of the runways before landing at Teterboro Airport, said NTSB investigator Bob Hancock.

Instead, the pilot made an abrupt left turn and crashed between the houses, killing the four on board.

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