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More Details Released On Small Plane Crash That Took The Lives Of 3 In Mississippi
By Daniel Baxter

July 13, 2012 - On Sunday a six seat Piper Lance PA-32R aircraft crashed after encountering thunderstorms killing all onboard. The Piper, N4386F had departed Western Carolina Regional Airport (KRHP) Andrews, North Carolina about 1:17 PM with three passengers onboard. The flight was to land at University Oxford Airport, Oxford, Mississippi. 

The identities of the victims have been reported as pilot, Dr. James Joseph Bartley, Jr., and his passengers, wife Terry H. Bartley, 55; and their youngest daughter, 20 year old Caroline Bartley, a student at the University of Mississippi. 

Bartley was a practicing podiatrist in Columbus, Georgia. He and his family were flying from their vacation home in North Carolina to return their daughter back to the University of Mississippi. Bartley was a licensed private pilot with an instrument airplane rating.

Ralph Lauderdale, Prentiss Emergency Management Agency Director, said that it appears that Bartley encountered pop-up thunderstorms at his cruising attitude of 8,000 feet and that the aircraft may have been damaged in-flight.

At about 2 PM the local police received a 911 call indicating that an airplane had cashed in a heavily wooded area near County Road 4111 in New Site, Mississippi. Emergency responders from law enforcement and volunteer fire departments responded to the search with rescue teams on foot, all-terrain vehicles as well on horseback.

Emergency responders located the aircraft wreckage site at about 35 miles northeast of Tupelo. The aircraft appeared to have flown nose first into the ground and plowed its way into the earth several feet. Recue crews reported they had to dig out the aircraft in order to get to the dead. Prentiss County Sheriff Randy Tolar said, “It is going to be a long process getting the victims out of the plane's cabin.” The debris field was reported to be one half mile wide which included parts of the fuselage, wings and tail. 

Lauderdale said, "There was a severe thunderstorm going on in the general time this occurred and our assumption is weather forced the plane down. We were hoping that it came down in enough pieces we might find someone alive, but when we were able to locate it by following the debris field in a very heavily wooded area, there was no one alive.

"Part of the debris is evidently the main cabin of the plane and it evidently fell at a pretty large velocity because it's embedded, I guess is the best way to put it, so they're going to have to dig out before they can start cutting the people out."



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