STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Officials with the Stone County Sheriff's Department have identified all three men involved in the small plane crash that happened near Wiggins on Thursday night. Lt. Lewis Husband said the men are all from Texas.
Husband said the pilot of the aircraft was Jeff Branblett, 62, of Mesquite. He identified the passengers as 68-year-old Joe Paul Mentesara, of Dallas, and 33-year-old Jeff Franklin, of Sherman.
According to Husband, Mentesara said the aircraft started to lose power and the propeller began to slow. That's when the plane began to sink towards the ground. Branblett tried to land near a field off Mississippi 29 near Oil Well Road, but the plane clipped a tree and landed just short of the road.
Husband said Federal Aviation Administration officials were at the crash scene on Friday. He said a salvage company from Arkansas is coming to pick up the wreckage. The wreckage will be returned to Arkansas where the FAA will conduct a more thorough investigation.