Wasola Man Among 5 Killed in Plane Crash in Arkansas
A Wasola man was among five people who worked for an environmental response consulting firm that were killed in a plane crash Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Little Rock, Arkansas, while on their way to a metal factory explosion site in Ohio, officials said.
The plane was carrying employees of the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health when it took off from Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock around noon Feb. 22, according to the firm and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The employees (Micah Kendrick, Kyle Bennett, Gunter Beaty and Glenmarkus Walker.) were headed to John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Ohio to respond to a fatal explosion at a metal factory, a spokesperson for CTEH told CNN in an email.
Sean Sweeney, 64, was piloting the , a twin-engine Beech B2000 that crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff near the Little Rock airport. Sweeney’s Linkedin page said he was a, “lifelong aviation professional and pilot: avid IAC (international aerobatic club) member and competitor, recreational aviation enthusiast, experimental aircraft fabricator and builder, and volunteer youth leader (4H AND FFA)” He had been a corporate and ferry pilot, and flight instructor since March 2014. He was also the owner of The Concrete Works Sweeney Mining & Mfg., LLC, a local company that he had owned for 30 years.
“We are incredibly saddened to report the loss of our Little Rock colleagues,” Dr. Paul Nony, senior vice president of CTEH, said in a statement. “We ask everyone to keep the families of those lost and the entire CTEH team in their thoughts and prayers.”
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the NTSB. Officials with the NTSB said that the preliminary report could be finished in within 15 days of the crash. A full report could take up to two years, according to officials.
Emergency services were alerted to the crash at 12:02 p.m., the Little Rock Police Department said in a Facebook post.
There was a line of storms moving through the area around the same time, according to CNN Weather. There were no warnings alerted for the storms, but the National Weather Service issued a special statement calling for gusts up to 50 mph.
The highest gust at the airport was 46 mph, recorded at 12:02 p.m.
CTEH is a consulting firm that provides responsive services, including environmental data collection and management, incident management, industrial hygiene, safety, toxicology and human health consulting for public and private sectors, the company said.