Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

November 27, 2012

UPDATE: Oklahoma resident identified as victim of plane crash near Wells

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

CHEROKEE COUNTY — 11:09 a.m. A 64-year-old pilot was killed Monday night when the twin-engine Cessna he was flying from West Houston Airport to Tulsa Riverside Airport in Oklahoma crashed just outside the city of Wells, authorities said.

John Thomas Steeper of Broken Arrow, whose aircraft was listed in the FAA Registry as "H-S Air LP"  was the only occupant of the Cessna 421C Golden Eagle at the time of the crash — the cause of which remained under investigation Tuesday, authorities said.

Just before 9:30 p.m,  air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the aircraft, according to a news release issued by Lynn Lunsford Mid-States Public Affairs Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration's Office.

The aircraft had been maneuvering to avoid weather in Cherokee County when it disappeared from radar, reports show. Search and rescue crews located the wreckage of an aircraft late Monday evening in a field outside Wells.

According to a report by the Aviation Safety Network — not yet verified by the FAA —  the aircraft impacted terrain in a field near Wells and is believed to have been destroyed by the impact and post impact fire.

Federal Aviation Administration investigators are part of a team led by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is in charge of all fatal aircraft accident investigations.

Terry Williams, an NTSB public affairs officer, said the investigation continued Tuesday.

"We're sending an investigator from our Chicago office, who should arrive there by early afternoon," Williams said. "We will have parties from CESNA, the aircraft manufacturer and also Continintal Motors participating in the investigation."
Steeper has had a private pilot's certification since 2008.


8:30 a.m. The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that one person was killed when a small plane crashed near Wells.