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Pilot dies when experimental plane crashes into Cross Lake

“Several people were out on the water, and family members who were on the scene actually witnessed it as well”
First responders and volunteers search Cross Lake in Shreveport for a pilot and a one-seat...
First responders and volunteers search Cross Lake in Shreveport for a pilot and a one-seat plane that crashed the afternoon of May 23, 2021.(Source: Desitinee Patterson/KSLA News 12)
Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 11:35 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A man died when a small aircraft crashed into Cross Lake in Shreveport, authorities confirm.

“From what we understand, the person that was on the aircraft lives in this area,” Shreveport Fire Department spokesman Clarence Reese told media representatives Sunday afternoon.

The Caddo coroner’s office later identified the pilot as Fred L. Phillips, the Caddo Sheriff’s Office reports.

Louisiana business filings show he is the manager of Pocket Jet LLC, a Shreveport-based corporation.

Several callers told authorities that there was a parachute kind of wrapped up on top of the water, he added. The pilot still was in the plane when divers found it.

“The aircraft is underwater. They [the divers] have located one soul on board, the deceased,” Reese said.

Caddo 911 dispatch records show it happened at 2:47 p.m. Sunday, May 23.

“Several callers did call this in. Several people were out on the water, and family members who were on the scene actually witnessed it as well,” Reese added.

Shreveport Fire Department divers found the single-seat aircraft submerged in the water on the south side of the lake near Risinger Drive at 3:31 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Divers secured the wreckage as it was lifted from the crash site and Phillips’ body was recovered, Sheriff Steve Prator said.

Hammerhead Construction provided a barge to lift the plane and push it to the boat launch on South Lakeshore Drive.

The plane will be stored at Shreveport Regional Airport for National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators.

Thirteen Shreveport Fire Department units initially responded to Municipal Pier, according to dispatch records.

At the same time, four Shreveport police units answered a call about a major accident there.

Clarence Reese, of the Shreveport Fire Department, checks out a drone being used to help search...
Clarence Reese, of the Shreveport Fire Department, checks out a drone being used to help search for a downed plane and its pilot May 23, 2021, at Cross Lake in Shreveport.(Source: Desitinee Patterson/KSLA News 12)

In addition to Shreveport’s fire and police departments, responding to the crash were members of the Caddo Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, and the city’s Water and Sewerage Department, the last of which because Cross Lake is Shreveport’s water source.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality also were contacted.

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