A Cirrus SR22 crashed early Saturday morning in southwestern Missouri, killing all five occupants.
The 2002 SR22 went down around midnight approximately five miles away from Springfield-Branson National Airport, which is believed to have been its intended destination.
A few witnesses who were near the crash site at the time of the accident told local media outlets they heard what sounded like a low-flying aircraft with an engine that was going in and out, followed by a loud boom.
The airplane was engulfed in flames following the crash, killing all two adults and three children – aged 10,15 and 16 – aboard.
It is unclear why the four-seat aircraft was carrying five passengers at the time of the accident, or whether there was an attempt to deploy the SR22’s ballistic recovery system before impact. Recent models of the SR22 and SR20 can be outfitted with a three-place rear seat, allowing for five total occupants, but there are no known modifications for adding a seat in older Cirrus aircraft.
Weather reports show overcast skies and light rain at the time of the crash. The individual believed to have been piloting the aircraft was 44 years old, and FAA records indicate he was instrument rated.
NTSB investigators over the weekend said they were looking into reports that the ill-fated flight originated in Lee’s Summit, located just southeast of Kansas City. The agency said a preliminary report should be available within the next few weeks.