Plane crash in Kansas has Syracuse connection

The crash site

Two people with a connection to the Syracuse area died Thursday morning when the single engine plane they were flying in crashed into a Kansas pasture.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reports that 56-year-old Gregory P. Collis and 54-year-old Pindi Williams of Manlius were killed when their small airplane crashed in Jefferson County in northeast Kansas. Police say the plane was headed west when it apparently developed engine trouble and crashed in a hay field.

"The plane tried to make a turn to the west... to avoid maybe the trees or find a better place to go down, and as soon as he did that it maybe started to come up but then it went down just right away" said Mike Jamison, who witnessed the crash.

The 1987 Beech Bonanza F-33, registered to Syracuse Aviation Services here in Syracuse, took off from the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Missouri around 8:28 a.m. eastern time. It crashed 25 minutes later near Perry Lake after it apparently doubled back.

According to a flight plan filed by Collis, who was the pilot, the plane was destined for St. Johns, Arizona.

According to KSHB in Kansas City, the weather was clear this morning and there is no word if the pilot had radioed in to report any engine problems.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff L. Herrig said a landowner saw the plane going down and called authorities. "It looks like they probably took a nose dive into the field and rolled over," Herrig said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said her agency and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Collis and Williams were married eight years ago and lived in Manlius. Collis was a Nottingham High School graduate and a member of the Manlius Chamber of Commerce. He is the owner of the Manlius Home for Adults in the Village of Manlius, as well as an adult home in Hamilton.

WKTV in Utica is reporting that the flight originated from Hamilton Municipal Airport in New York's Madison County on Wednesday.

CNY Central has obtained a recording of air traffic control conversations in the minutes before the flight crashed. Here is a partial transcript of that recording:

24:39 6254E Are you under time or fuel constraints? I have an aircraft that may have gone down just north of Lawrence. I'm trying to find out something about them. I didn't know if maybe you had time or fuel to maybe run up to Lawrence, see if you can see anything. 24:55 unintelligible response 25:01 I read you 54E It would be appreciated. We've lost communication with him. He lost an engine. He was trying to get into Lawrence, but just didn't have enough altitude to get in there. The last I heard he saw a road. 25:14

Click here to listen to the complete air traffic control audio from the incident. The recording begins about 17 seconds in.

Information from KHSB, WKTV, and the Associated Press was used in this report. Click here for more from KHSB.