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Plane crash in Kan. kills 4 family members

Associated Press / April 23, 2011

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TOPEKA, Kan. — A small airplane filled with relatives on their way to visit friends for Easter crashed in a muddy Kansas cornfield yesterday, killing all four people aboard, officials said.

The six-seat Beechcraft plane registered to Precision Ag & Seed Services LLC went down about noon roughly 3 miles northeast of the capital city of Topeka. Federal Aviation Administration records show the craft took off from Scott City in western Kansas and was headed to Topeka’s Philip Billard Airport.

The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the victims as 35-year-old Richard Dylan Spencer, 34-year-old Amy Beth Spencer, and their daughters, 7-year-old Chase Spencer and 5-year-old Ansley Spencer.

The patrol said the family was from Scott City.

Based on a witness’s account, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig said he believed the plane’s motor sputtered and then cut off before the crash.

The plane left a long trail of wreckage in conditions so sloppy emergency crews initially had trouble reaching the debris.

Weather conditions were cool and damp; there were no severe storms in the area when the crash happened.

Eric Johnson, president and director of airports for the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority, said conditions were “kind of gloomy but not, in my opinion, terrible weather.’’

The plane circled the airport one time and missed the approach, Johnson said. It crashed before it could try again.

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