3 dead after plane leaving Oxford crashes

Updated: Apr. 15, 2019 at 6:05 AM CDT
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UNION COUNTY, MS (WMC) - Officials in Mississippi are investigating after a private plane crashed and killed three people.

Investigators are still trying to find wreckage in a remote area.

The plane took off from Oxford and was traveling to Hamilton, Alabama.

It didn't make it far, crashing 20 minutes after taking off.

The Union County Sheriff's Office has closed county road 120 outside New Albany as they continue to search for clues and debris.

Around 5 o'clock Saturday, county officials received a call from Memphis air traffic control that a plane had dropped off radar. However, debris was very difficult to find.

"We couldn't see any debris or anything, because it was in a heavily wooded area. And once the rain come, it started washing the fuel down. One of the volunteer fire department members was driving home and smelled the fuel. So that's what gave us the pinpoint back, actually, to the original location that we had on the map that we was searching to start with," said Curt Clayton, emergency services director.

The Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards identified the three victims. Tommy Nix was the pilot, his wife Merline was a passenger and Jarrod Holloway was the co-pilot.

At the time of the crash, heavy storms had not yet moved in.

“He told them (air traffic control) he was having some electrical problems with the aircraft. And was trying to over-correct or correct the aircraft electrical issue and then just a few minutes after that, they lost radio contact with them,” said Clayton.

Neighbors in the area say they didn't hear the crash but saw the commotion.

“Game wardens and they had side by sides, tons of cop cars for hours were circling the road and kind of just checking out the woods. We saw from a distance but we couldn’t tell what was going on,” said Race Stewart.

Stewart was shocked to hear how close the plane came to his sister's home.

“It’s kind of scary to think if we could have been in here, what could have happened. It’s sad to hear that there were people on board. It’s crazy that this happened around here in the middle of nowhere,” said Stewart.

All of the passengers had families, according to Sheriff Edwards. He also said all 3 were from Northeast Mississippi.

"They're our neighbors. They are Mississipians and live close by. And we just continue to pray for them," said Edwards.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are at the crash site.

Country Road 120 may be closed for several days as investigators gather clues to try to determine the cause of the crash.

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