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FAA says 3 believed aboard when jet crashed in Indiana woods

MEMPHIS, Ind. (WISH/AP) — A Chicago-bound jet crashed in southern Indiana shortly after taking off from a local airport Friday, and investigators believe everyone on board the small twin-engine plane was killed, according to police.

Flight plans indicate that three people were on the plane when it left Clark Regional Airport on its way to Chicago’s Midway Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham said. Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel said it’s unclear how many people were on the plane when it crashed, but investigators confirmed multiple fatalities and don’t believe anyone on board survived.

The sheriff said the plane could carry as many as 10 people. Noel said it wasn’t immediately clear who owned the plane, which the National Transportation Safety Board identified as a Cessna Citation.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said he didn’t expect officials on Friday to confirm the identities of those killed in the crash. Goodin said police were securing the crash site until federal investigators arrive.

The jet crashed around 11:30 a.m. in a rural area near Memphis, Indiana, which is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Louisville, Kentucky. Noel said it appears the plane crashed shortly after taking off from the airport, which is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the crash site. 

The area is heavily wooded and responding officers had to walk and use ATVs to access the crash site.

Helicopter video from WLKY-TV shows small pieces of smoldering debris scattered in the wooded area with numerous charred trees. Noel said there was nothing at the crash site that “people would recognize easily as an aircraft.”

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said no information on a possible crash cause was immediately available. Federal investigators were expected to arrive at the scene Saturday.

The Ball State University Board of Trustees released a statement Friday afternoon, which said R. Wayne Estopinal, a trustee member and 1979 Ball State graduate, died in the crash: 

It is with deep sadness that we inform you that R. Wayne Estopinal, a Ball State University Board of Trustee member and a 1979 graduate of our College of Architecture and Planning, has passed away in a plane crash today in southern Indiana. He was an exceptional leader and passionate supporter of the University. As we mourn this loss to our Ball State family, we ask that you keep Wayne’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. As we learn additional information, we will communicate that to you.

Rick Hall 


Ball State Board of Trustees

Geoffrey S. Mearns


Ball State University