Plane crash victim identified

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 11/27/2012 5:50 pm Published: 11/27/2012 6:02 am

WELLS, Texas

A Broken Arrow family is mourning the death of a 64-year-old pilot.
John Thomas Steeper died when his twin engine Cessna plane crashed late Monday in southeast Texas. The plane was headed to Tulsa when air traffic controllers lost contact. A group of teens actually found the wreckage in the dark using the light from their cell phones.

News of the crash traveled quickly around Jones Riverside Airport. Fellow pilot Mike Barnes has been flying for over 35 years and knows the risk you take when you leave the ground. Reports show air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane around 9:30 on Monday night.

"There is the software that shows the reporting of the transponder which is the electronic radio that reports position, and altitude which is tracked by air traffic control. It just really showed some wild information so we don't know exactly where it accurately stopped reporting,” says Barnes.

According to the FAA, the plane had been trying to avoid weather near Cherokee County in east Texas when it disappeared from radar.
Witness, Judy Tobias told investigators she saw a large orange glow in the sky from her back porch.

"It was mostly just the outline of the plane. The propeller was still--you could see where the propeller was and where it was facing, but everything was melted down. You couldn't even find the back of the plane. It was just completely gone,” says Tobias.

Area pilots say turbulence from a storm nearby can cause someone to become disoriented and lose control of a plane flying in the clouds at night.

"They will be looking to see if the engines were running on impact whenever they run their tests,” says Barnes.

Right now, the FAA and the NTSB are investigating to determine the exact cause of the crash.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 11/27/2012 1:54 PM
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Very unfortunate incident. Sometimes you must bend with the wind. Condolences to Steeper's friends and family.
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