• 55°

7 killed in ‘deadliest crash’ this year

Seven people were Saturday killed when their small plane crashed barely more than a mile away from the Demopolis Airport as they were returning from a family reunion.

The pilot, Fred Teutenberg, 42; wife, Terresa, who was in her mid-30s; daughter Emma, 2; son Peyton, 4; daughter Ellie, 6; son Brendon, 9; and son Will, 10 were all killed in a plane crash at approximately 6:34 p.m. Saturday evening.

The aircraft, a twin engine Cessna 421C, was en route to Destin, Fla. from St. Louis when it attempted to divert to Demopolis after an engine failure. According to the Federal Aviation Association (FAA), the plane had departed Creve Coeur Airport in Missouri on its way to Destin, Fla.

“Losing an engine creates an emergency,” said Demopolis Airport Manager Buzz Sawyer, “but under normal circumstances, you can fly on one engine. It’s not ideal, but you can do it. A plane like (the Teutenberg’s) – one that size – ordinarily should be able to make it on one engine for a while.”

Sawyer said the Demopolis facility received a call from Meridian who relayed the emergency call received from Teutenberg to Demopolis, adding that the plane was being diverted. However, that plane never arrived.

“All we knew was that a plane had an emergency and was being diverted here with seven people on board,” said Sawyer, who drove from his home to the airport to escort the family from the plane. “But where I got there, of course, no one was there.”

The plane went down in a wooded area north of the Demopolis airport, killing all seven on board. The couple’s oldest daughter, Ashlei Bruewer, 16, a native of St. Louis, was not aboard the plane.

The wreckage was found at 2:17 a.m. Sunday morning. First responders on the scene said they found the plane upside-down with one of its wings broken off, the likely result of an impact with a tree.

FAA records indicate the plane, built in 1978, was registered to Advanced Integrated Technology Solutions LLC, a software design company in Niceville, Fla.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the cause of Saturday’s accident, which is the deadliest plane crash in the United States so far this year. In March, five people were killed when a small plane crashed at Long Beach Airport in California.