Investigation continues into fatal plane crash

Photo Source: Hancock County Sheriff's Department
Photo Source: Hancock County Sheriff's Department

By Jessica Bowman – email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hancock County Coroner Norma Stiglet says both victims, 56-year-old Randy Botts and 23-year-old Karl Smith, have undergone autopsies and died from multiple injuries due to blunt force.

Pieces of the 1989 RV-4 Single Engine plane are untouched as officials try to determine the cause of the fatal crash.

Hancock County Sheriff's Department Investigator Richard Fayard says, "We currently have a representative of FAA on scene at this time. They're back there doing their preliminary investigation. They have recovered several items of interest that they will be collecting."

Hancock County Sheriff's Department Investigator Richard Fayard says it was likely navigational equipment that was on board the amateur built plane that will help Federal Aviation Administration officials determine what caused the crash.

"We've been advised by the FAA that the insurance company will be in charge of the recovery of the air craft, and we'll be coordinating with them to get the debris removed from the wooded area," says Investigator Richard Fayard.

According to the FAA web site, 56-year-old Randy Botts of Perkinston was a certified private pilot. At the time of the crash he was testing his auto pilot feature.

"At this time the Hancock County Sheriff's Department has concluded its preliminary investigation, we will be coordinating with the FAA and NTSB and assisting them in any way possible," says Investigator Richard Fayard.

The information collected from the FAA representative will be handed over to the National Transportation and Safety Board.

NTSB Spokesman Peter Knudson says, "Once we receive the information this investigation will take about 12 months since we are dealing with a fatal accident before the investigation is conclusive."

No word on when the wreckage will be cleared from the scene.

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