Small Plane Crashes In Missouri Shortly After Takeoff, Leaving Two Occupants Dead

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Brent Foster Contributor
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A small plane plummeted from the sky shortly after taking off Thursday, killing two occupants and injuring one, according to multiple outlets.

The aircraft had recently departed from Grand Glaize Airport in Osage Beach, Missouri, when the crash occurred, the Associated Press (AP) reported Friday, citing police.

A motorist “saw a plane that looked like it was going to crash” and alerted authorities, Osage Beach Police Department Lt. Mike O’Day told local outlet KY3. The witness said the small aircraft was “going forward toward Margaritaville,” according to O’Day.

“Several agencies came to the area and started searching for the plane,” O’Day continued.

A park ranger later found the aircraft wedged amid trees on a golf course between Route KK and U.S. 54, KY3 reported. First responders transported the victims to an ambulance via UTVs (utility terrain vehicles).

Hayden M. Ritchhart, 22, and Evan R. Vandiver, 19, were declared dead at the crash site, according to KCTV. Gary Vandiver, 54, was identified as the third occupant of the downed aircraft. He sustained serious injuries, AP reported. (RELATED: 6 Dead After Plane Crashes, Catches Fire)

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Thursday confirmed an investigation into “the crash of a Piper PA-28 airplane near Osage Beach, Missouri.”