Plane is lost in central Missouri
By Harry Levins
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
A plane that took off from Spirit of St. Louis Airport this morning vanished from radar screens somewhere near the northwestern corner of Montgomery County, Mo.
“We’re looking for it, but we haven’t found it yet,” said a Missouri Highway Patrol officer at Troop F in Jefferson City.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane had lifted off from Spirit at 7:50 a.m., en route to Buffalo, Minn.
“We lost radar contact at about 8:15,” said the spokesman, Tom Molinaro of the FAA’s regional office in Chicago.
He said the aircraft was a single-engine Piper 46, built last year. The aircraft is owned by McC Aviation Services of Rockford, Minn., said Molinaro.
That firm is apparently a subsidiary of McC Inc., an ethanol manufacturer. Spokeswoman Deb McCormick of McC Inc. refused this morning to comment on the reports of a missing plane but said she might have a statement later in the day.
St. Louis is the site of the 23rd annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo, which began Tuesday and will end Friday. Among those registered on the expo’s Web site is a David McCormick of McC Inc.
The FAA’s Molinaro was unaware how many people were aboard the plane. Nor could John D. Bales, Spirit’s director. But Bales said the aircraft was “a transient” – one that was not based at Spirit. He said Spirit had sold fuel to the aircraft on Tuesday, the opening day of the ethanol expo here.
The FAA notified the Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol said it also had got reports from people who said they had heard a plane that sounded as if it was having engine trouble.
At first, the plane was thought to have gone down in Gasconade County, which is just south of Montgomery County.
The northwestern corner of Montgomery County sits about 15 miles east of Mexico, Mo. The Highway Patrol said troopers from several counties had joined in the search. “We’re all looking,” said the officer at Troop F.