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JASPER, AL (WBRC) -
The Walker County Coroner's Office has identified the three people who died in a plane crash near Jasper on New Year's Day.
Jordan Montgomery, 17, Jordan Smith, 17, and Brandon Ary, 19, perished when the plane crashed just a mile from the Walker County airport Tuesday, Jan. 1.
According to the Walker County Sheriff's Office, the three young men may have taken the private plane without permission and flew it on a "joyride."
"Thats what we're thinking, but only they knew," Chief Deputy James Painter said.
The sheriff's office did receive a report of a plane stolen from the Walker County Airport-Bevill Field.
Sources tell FOX6 News that two of the victims attended Meek High School and the other was a graduate from Meek High School. The MHS principal said grief counselors will be available at the high school tomorrow when students return to classes.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families," the principal said.
The father of Jordan Montgomery, one of the victims, said he bears no
ill feelings toward the other boys or parents involved. He says faith
will pull his family through.
Jordan Montgomery was a 17-year-old senior at Meeks High School.
Federal authorities are still investigating at the scene of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board says the plane crashed about a mile southwest of the Walker County airport around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday. The FAA has confirmed that the aircraft was a Piper PA 30 and that three people were on board.
Walker County Sheriff's deputies, Saragossa Fire Department and Alabama State Troopers searched for the crash site in an area off Highway 5 and Wells Loop. Search crews said they had a difficult time getting to the plane because it crashed into a heavily wooded area.
A spokesperson from the NTSB said the plane went into "instrument meteorological conditions," meaning the weather conditions required the pilot to fly primarily using instruments. Flying into IMC is one of the leading causes of small airplane crashes.
The NTSB is investigating the crash with assistance from the FAA. There is no word yet on how long the investigation will last.
An employee at the Arley Coffee Shop said the entire town of Arley is in a state of shock from the tragedy.
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