HATTIESBURG, Mississippi – A small plane has crashed into a Mississippi house, killing one of the house’s four occupants and three Texas residents on their way to a college graduation ceremony, authorities said on Wednesday.
Gerry Standley, 55, was residing in the house where the plane crashed in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
The pilot, Louis Provenza, 67, Anna Calhoun, 23, and Harper Provenza, 2, were also killed, according to Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict.
Hattiesburg is approximately 90 miles southeast of Jackson, Mississippi.
Officials from the University of Southern Mississippi said the three people on the plane were coming to Hattiesburg to attend a launch ceremony.
Calhoun was a junior biology student at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, said Julie Gaynor, director of public relations.
“My heart breaks for our student and his family, as well as for members of our community and their families,” USM President Rodney Bennett said in a statement. “The University offers our deepest condolences and our thoughts and prayers to all who are touched by this tragedy at this time of great loss.”
Standley worked full-time for a paving company and was an assistant pastor at his church, according to a webpage to raise money for funeral expenses and the replacement of property lost in the blaze.
His wife, Melinda, director of the police department’s 911 center division, their daughter Arrianna and grandson Eli all came out of the house with minor injuries, he said. The couple celebrated their 22nd anniversary last month.
Provenza was a neurosurgeon with the United Regional Physician Group and a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
“We are very saddened by the loss of Dr. Louis Provenza. He has touched the lives of so many and will be sorely missed, ”the medical group said.
The plane, a Mitsubishi M-2B-60, crashed into a house on Tuesday evening, Hattiesburg Police Department officials reported on Wednesday.
Emergency responders were called to the scene at around 11:20 p.m., Hattiesburg Police spokesman Ryan Moore said in an email.
Police are asking anyone who finds debris or wreckage that may be related to the crash to contact the Hattiesburg Police Department and to avoid moving or touching the debris.
Police initially said two people died, according to an Associated Press report. The death toll was then updated to four.
The Federal Aviation Administration was called in to investigate the cause of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has been contacted to investigate.
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Contribute: The Associated Press