October 30, 2004
Eyewitness Recounts Final Seconds Of Tragic Flight
By Chris Feeney - Memphis Democrat
(MEMPHIS, MO - October 30, 2004) A storm watcher got more than he was expecting Friday evening when he witnessed a single-engine plane crash just miles from his home in rural Scotland County.
"I was looking out the back because I knew there were storms coming, and every once in a while, I'd catch a flash of lightning," said Alvin Musser, Jr. "That's when I spotted the plane. It came spinning out of the clouds heading straight toward the ground. It looked like the pilot started to recover from the spin and then lost control again and suddenly hit the ground."
Musser watched with horror from his home on Route D, roughly five miles east of the crash site.
"When it hit the ground, there was a big explosion, and it lit up the whole sky," said Musser, who himself is a pilot that has worked for a local farm spraying service. "I was just standing there with my mouth open. I told my wife that I thought I had just seen a plane crash."
Musser knew what he had seen, a tragedy. "They were going so fast, and the crash made such an explosion, I knew in my mind they were gone. From the time I first saw the plane until it crashed, it couldn't have been more than five seconds, they were just going so fast when they hit."
Musser contacted the Scotland County Sheriff's Department and reported a plane down. He accompanied Scotland County Chief Deputy Bill Holland to the crash site, which actually was just across the county line in Schuyler County, near the intersection of Routes A and D, approximately seven miles south of Downing.
According to the FAA, a Beechcraft A36 went down shortly after 8:00 p.m, October 29. The plane reportedly was traveling from South Dakota back to Anderson, Indiana.