UPDATE: Several reports have now identified legendary Oklahoma Sooners football star Steven Davis as one of the two victims to perish in the South Bend plane crash. Davis, 60, quarterbacked the Sooners to a pair of national titles in the 1970s. Football legend Barry Switzer, who coached Davis as Oklahoma, tweeted his condolences when the news went public.
"I'm saddened by the loss of Steve Davis. Great role model for young people on & off the field. He was my 1st QB & had an outstanding career," he said via Twitter.
The crash's second victim is believed to be Wesley Caves, 58, who served as the plane's pilot.
A small private plane crashed in a surburban Indiana neighborhood on Sunday, killing two passengers and causing considerable damage to local homes.
The Beechcraft Premier I model twin-jet, which was expected to land at South Bend Regional Airport, clipped two separate houses before becoming lodged inside of a third. The twin-jet’s leaking jet fuel reportedly caused the evacuation of several houses located near the crash.
While two of the plane’s passengers died on impact, another two were recovered from the site and rushed to a local hospital, says South Bend Assistant Fire Chief John Corthier. A third victim from the ground also received medical treatment. Local officials have not yet revealed the identities of those involved in the incident.
In the aftermath of the crash, hospital officials informed the media that the victim’s conditions ranged from fair to serious. The hospital has not been able to provide an update on their conditions.
Corthier went on to describe the “very dangerous” situation stemming from the leaking jet fuel, stating that local officials were able to cut the area’s power and evacuate residents before further tragedy could occur.
One local resident, Mary Jane Klaybor, had the misfortune of witnessing the terrifying ordeal from her window. “I was looking out my picture window. This (plane) was coming straight at my house. I went, ‘Huh?’ and then there was a big crash, and all the insulation went flying,” she said.
According to the Washington Post, the plane is registered to a company called 7700 Enterprises, which does business under the name DigiCut Systems and is based in Helena, Mont. In a further tragic twist, the Post reports that a woman identifying herself as the wife of DigiCut Systems owner Wes Caves answered her phone and said “I think he’s dead” before hanging up.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Todd Fox said that his agency would “identify and remedy any issues that could have prevented this accident,” per the Washington Post.
Mike Daigle, executive director of the St. Joseph County Airport Authority, told reporters on Monday that, while it appeared that the plane may have had trouble landing, it is unclear whether it had experienced mechanical trouble. Officials are still not sure what caused the crash.