WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. — A 17-year-old from Texas was killed after the plane he was piloting alone crashed in Washington County, Arkansas, late Monday night, according to the sheriff’s office.
The single-engine Cessna plane being piloted by Gabriel Hatton crashed in a wooded area of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO). The crash was first reported to 911 at 8:43 p.m. by nearby residents, one of whom told CNN affiliate KFSM that they heard the engine stall before impact.
“And then the plane just dove out of the sky,” said Michael Anderson. “It sounded like the engine was revving trying to pull it back up and it just went straight down.”
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash to determine the cause.
It took deputies a few hours to locate the crash site because the plane went down in a remote area at night. Multiple fire departments from surrounding cities, along with Washington County Urban Search and Rescue and even some residents with flashlights, assisted in the search. The wreckage of the airplane, a fixed wing single-engine Cessna 150G, was located at 11:13 p.m.
Hatton, from McKinney, Texas, was the only one aboard the plane that departed from Drake Field Airport and was heading to an unnamed location in Texas, according to WCSO. The aircraft had only traveled a little over 20 miles before the crash.
Hatton’s father, Clint, a pastor at Gates Church in McKinney, Texas, posted a statement on Facebook on Tuesday.
“Our family was struck with incredible pain last night as our oldest son Gabriel Hatton was involved in a tragic plane crash that took his life. We are grieving deeply but also full of the hope and faith that He is safely in the Presence of Jesus for the rest of eternity.”