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Witness recounts the plane crash that claimed the life of Senator Inhofe's son


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Perry Inhofe
Perry Inhofe
Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 11/12/2013 9:18 am Published: 11/11/2013 8:27 pm


Witness recounts the plane crash that claimed the life of Sen. Inhofe's son

NTSB investigators have been poring over records and data from the plane crash in Owasso on Sunday.

FOX23 has confirmed that the son of Sen. Jim Inhofe, Dr. Perry Inhofe, was the pilot and the only person on board.

Because a fire broke out right after the plane crashed, firefighters had to cut away some of the brush and debris during their search.

Also, there wasn't a black box or flight recorder on board, and so they are having to rely on other records like air traffic control logs and radar to help them piece together what happened.

It is a complex investigation that could take weeks to complete.

The plane piloted by Dr. Perry Inhofe left around 3 p.m. on Sunday from Salina, Kan., heading toward Tulsa.

Right now, it's not clear what caused this crash, but we do know Inhofe radioed for help.

Witnesses describe seeing the small plane start to spiral downward about 200 feet above the ground on Sunday and then they heard a loud crash.

"Everything was in flames and the trees were catching fire and I saw the gentleman hanging off the left side and it appeared he had passed away," says eyewitness Eric Pontious.

Pontious was the second person on the scene and he says he's having a hard time getting the images of the crash out of his mind.

"It was the first time I had really seen something quite like that of that nature with a fire. I hadn't seen much of that before," he says.

The plane landed in a wooded area not far from several homes; however, none of them were damaged by the crash. National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived in Tulsa Sunday night, and were at the scene all day Monday doing their investigation.

"In addition, we will be gathering maintenance records and we understand that a lot of those records are at a company here in Tulsa so we are in the process of gathering that information," says NTSB Air Safety Investigator Aaron Sauer.

The NTSB will be looking at three areas specifically -- man, machine and environment. It will look at the pilot's history and background and any maintenance records of the aircraft. It will also look at the weather conditions that day.

For Eric, his heart is grieving for the family of Sen. Inhofe and their incredible loss.

"Thoughts go out to them and everything and I feel for their family very much," he says.


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