Theodore A. Anderson, 77, of Blue Springs, was killed when his 182 Cessna airplane crashed in Mark Twain National Forest between Shell Knob and Cassville on Aug. 10.
"He left out of the Shell Knob area at around 1:40 p.m. on Sunday," said Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly. "He was en route to land in Lee's Summit, near Kansas City."
The troubled plane was first noticed by a resident who lives near Hailey Hollow where the crash occurred, said Epperly. The witness reported hearing a plane flying low in the clouds.
"When they located the plane in the sky they realized it was going down," said Epperly. "Then they saw a plume of smoke."
The Barry County Sheriff's Department was notified about the crash at around 2 p.m. on Sunday. Local residents followed smoke from the crash to find the location of the plane, and then assisted first responders in reaching the scene.
The Central Crossing Fire Department, Cox Ambulance Service and sheriff's department responded to the crash site.
"It appeared that it fell straight down," said Epperly. "The impact had started a fire when it busted the wing, which is where the fuel is stored. The plane was in a million pieces."
The Missouri State Highway Patrol also responded to the scene of the crash to offer assistance, and Officer John Lueckenhoff put the sheriff's department in contact with Roger Pinnell, a local aviator who lives in the Shell Knob area.
"We had a piece of a shirt that had a symbol on it," said Epperly. "When we talked to Roger he said that it could be Ted Anderson because he owns property down around Campbell Point.
"Roger said that Ted had called him around 1:40 p.m. to say that he was leaving, and that he would call again when he got home," said Epperly.
After the sheriff's department identified the pilot, Epperly assigned two officers to remain at the scene until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived at the site at around noon on Aug. 11.
"The Federal Transportation Administration and representatives of Cessna Aircraft Company, out of Witchita, Kan., also visited the scene to conduct their investigations," said Epperly.
The FAA collected copies of the Barry County Sheriff's Department's investigation reports, photos and evidence from the scene, which will be used in the organization's thorough investigation. The sheriff's department remained on-scene to secure the site and offer assistance until around 6:30 p.m. on Monday.
The FAA planned to remove the wreckage from the crash site sometime on Tuesday.
"It was a bad deal," said Epperly. "We don't know if it was caused by pilot error or a medical problem. We don't have much to go by from the plane."