Feds investigate site of fiery Miss. plane crash

Unidentified friends of the pilot of a small plane that authorities say crashed into a west Jackson, Miss., home shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday evening, Nov. 13, 2012, hug each other as they await information as to the pilot and passengers. The home's resident is believed to have escaped but authorities have not released names of plane's passengers.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

JACKSON, Miss. National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived Wednesday to inspect the wreckage at a house where a small plane crashed, killing the three people aboard the plane and igniting a huge fire.

NTSB investigator Paul Cox says the investigation was just beginning and it was too early to speculate on the cause. He said a preliminary report would be issued in 10 days.

Meanwhile, the names of all three victims were released Wednesday by the Civil Air Patrol.

Carlton Sumner, Mississippi wing commander of the Civil Air Patrol, identified the pilots as John Edward Tilton Jr. W.C. Young and David Williams.

Sumner said they were not on CAP business but all three were pilots with the organization.

One person was in the house. Loretta Jamison escaped with minor injuries.

A Jackson police officer looked up in the sky and saw the Piper PA-32 "spitting and sputtering" like it was out of fuel, he would later tell the plane's owner.

One of the aviators asked for permission to return to the airport, but just minutes later, the plane went down. It crashed through trees before slamming into a house that quickly caught fire, sending long flames and black smoke through the neighborhood of modest single-family homes surrounded by magnolia and oak trees.

CBS affiliate WJTV-TV reported that first responders had a difficult time putting out the fire from the plane crash.

The plane was owned by Roger and Michele Latham, from Superior Pallet Company in Flowood, Miss., both of whom showed up at the crash site, along with their grown daughter, Emily Latham.

Emily Latham noted that her father was supposed to have been on board but changed his plans.

"He went hunting," she said. "Thank God."

crash, plane, jackson, mississippi
Flames and smoke billow from a home in west Jackson, Miss., Tuesday evening, Nov. 13, 2012, after authorities say a small plane carrying three people crashed into the residence shortly after 5 p.m.
Joe Ellis,AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger