NTSB investigators are saying it's possible that engine failure caused a plane to crash Sunday in Natchitoches.
Thad Longlois (Source: Kasey Longlois)
A black bow hangs on the door of the Natchitoches Regional Airport Monday afternoon in honor of a local man who was killed in a plane crash Sunday.
NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) -
NTSB investigators are now saying the pilot of a small plane that crashed Sunday in a Natchitoches soybean field reported engine problems within five minutes of takeoff.
The exact cause of the crash that claimed the life of well-known Natchitoches barber 83-year-old Thaddeus T. Longlois, is still under investigation. However, the pilot, Jack McCain, 80 of Natchitoches, survived. Investigators said Monday evening that McCain reportedly tried to turn the Cessna 172 around and head back to Natchitoches Regional Airport, but was unable to make it.
Witnesses tried to offer help to the two after the crash, which happened around 11 a.m. in the Town South community, just off Hwy. 1. Longlois was pronounced dead at the scene and McCain was airlifted to UHS and is now in fair condition, being held in ICU. His family said McCain remembers the crash and has been talking to them about it.
The NTSB checked the controls in cockpit and the rest of plane Monday and found them to be in good working condition. Investigators are still checking the engine and fuel pumps and plan to continue that work throughout the day Tuesday. "There was reported that there was an engine problem on take off, so obviously we will be looking at that very closely," said Jim Silliman, an NTSB Air Safety Investigator.
The Cessna 172 is now being held in a hangar.
Longlois was a well known barber in the community for more than 50-years. "He's cut the hair of probably some of the great grand children of his original patrons," said Natchitoches Regional Airport Commission Chairman Stanley Salter.
Salter met Longlois as a kid, "He is always a very kind person, a very fun loving person," he said and explained that Longlois and his close friend McCain Jr. liked to fly together Sunday mornings. "That was apparently what they were doing when something went wrong," Salter said.
"I knew that there was something major wrong, because there were continuous sirens."
A black bow now hangs boldly on the door of the airport, a solemn statement honoring the fallen great-grandfather. The bow is a symbol similar to when law enforcement officers black-out their badges after losing someone on their force.