SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A local businessman died after the airplane he was piloting crashed into Cross Lake Sunday afternoon, according to Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator.
Fred L. Phillips was pronounced dead at the scene by Caddo Parish Coroner Todd Thoma, after the single-engine airplane Phillips was flying was retrieved from the water Sunday evening.
Just after 2:45 p.m. Sunday, several witnesses who actually watched the 2017 Jon M Corneal Subsonex airplane crash called 911 and reported what they had just seen.
Shreveport Police and Fire departments rushed to the scene and immediately dispatched divers into the water.
Just after 3:30 p.m., SFD divers located the aircraft wreckage submerged in the water on the south side of the lake near Risinger Drive. Phillips’ body was still in the aircraft.
The Caddo Sheriff’s Office along with its Marine Unit responded and coordinated the removal of the wreckage.
Prator, who responded to the crash scene, said SFD divers secured the plane as it was lifted from the crash site and Phillips’ body was recovered.
Hammerhead Construction provided a barge to push the plane to the boat launch on South Lakeshore Drive. The plane will be stored at Shreveport Regional Airport for National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators.
According to Sheriff’s Capt. John May, the plane took off from Shreveport Regional Airport at 2:36 p.m. and was in the air approximately nine minutes. The plane is described as an experimental aircraft with one seat.
The NTSB is heading the investigation, Agencies who were notified or assisted in the recovery and investigation include the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Shreveport police and fire departments, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State Police, FAA, Shreveport Regional Airport, DEQ, and the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office.
Equipment and assistance also was provided by Shreveport businessmen John Harris and Mike Cavanaugh.