The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

January 2, 2013

Deadly Ala. plane crash may have been teen joyride

— JASPER, Ala. (AP) — Investigators believe a small plane that crashed in the Alabama woods was taken without permission for a joyride by a student pilot and two other teenagers who died in the wreck Tuesday night.

Walker County sheriff's Chief Deputy James Painter said Wednesday authorities are still investigating but believe the three teenagers took off in the plane before it went down in a wooded area near Jasper, northwest of Birmingham.

"We don't know for sure but we think it was some teenagers who stole the plane and were sort of joyriding it," Painter told The Associated Press. "They got it in and took off and didn't go very far."

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Piper PA 30 crashed less than a mile from the Walker County Airport in Jasper.

The names of the three occupants of the plane haven't been released.

"I think they were just looking for a thrill and they had their last one," Painter said.

The plane had departed from the small airport at night and when there was a low cloud ceiling , airport manager Edwin Banks said.

"It was a student pilot flying an airplane without permission, an airplane that he was not qualified to fly at night," Banks said. He declined to name the student before authorities release the identities.

The teenage pilot had flown a single-engine airplane in the past "and he got in a double-engine at night in bad weather with a couple of his buddies," Banks said.

The Piper PA 30 is also called a Piper Twin Comanche. It is a low-wing plane with two propellers and can seat four to six, depending on the model.

The planes were built from 1963 until 1972, and were popular with flight schools because of their fuel efficiency and relatively inexpensive price tags, according to the International Comanche Society, an enthusiasts' group.

1
Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee