Fatal plane crash in Jefferson County
A twin-engine plane crashed in a semi-rural area of Jefferson County, about three miles northeast of Topeka, Friday afternoon. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, four people were killed in the accident, which was near the intersection of Kansas Highway 4 and 46th Street, southwest of Meriden.
K-4 northeast of Topeka
A twin-engine plane crashed Friday afternoon and killed a Scott City couple and their two daughters in a semi-rural area of Jefferson County, about three miles northeast of Topeka.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, all four people on board were killed in the accident, which was near the intersection of Kansas Highway 4 and 46th Street, southwest of Meriden.
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the Beechcraft Baron 58, tail number N580EA, crashed in a field. Flight logs show the six-seat plane took off from the Scott City Municipal Airport at 10:45 a.m. and lost altitude at 12:14 p.m. The plane was bound for Philip Billard Municipal Airport in Topeka and is registered to Precision Ag and Seed Services out of Scott City.
Kansas Highway Patrol identified the four crash victims as Richard D. Spencer, 35; Amy Spencer, 34; Chase Spencer, 7; and Ansley Spencer, 5. Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig said investigators believed the family was headed to the Topeka area to visit friends for Easter weekend.
Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the pilot, Richard Spencer, was practicing an approach in IFR conditions and practiced a missed approach — a common training practice for pilots when they almost land but pull up at the last second. IFR — instrument flight rules — conditions mean the pilot is using instruments to fly the plane and visibility is not good.
Knudson said the plane was circling the airport after the missed approach when it crashed, and he said there was no distress call made.
Sue Pater, who lives near the crash site, said she was watching TV in her living room when the plane crashed, about a half mile from her backyard.
“I heard a big boom and something flashed across my TV screen,” Pater said. “My brother-in-law called me and said he saw a ball of fire fall from the sky.”
Pater said smoke was visible from her house for about 30 minutes after the crash.
A representative from the NTSB was to arrive on the scene Friday evening to begin investigating the crash. The FAA also planned to send an investigation team.
Herrig said the crews were expected to arrive from Chicago between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. He said he believed diminishing sunlight would hinder much investigation Friday night but said crews would likely be out first thing today to continue. The Kansas Highway Patrol and Jefferson and Shawnee county sheriff’s departments were also on the scene.
Friday's crash was the second plane crash in Jefferson County in the past year. In July 2010, a New York couple died when their small plane crashed in a field in Jefferson County, about 10 miles northwest of Lawrence.