Report released in plane crash

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 23, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; The preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday says Natchez pilot Justin Cardneaux was warned of his low altitude seconds before the crash.

Cardneaux was flying a twin-engine plane, carrying Miss-Lou residents Barr Brown and Jerry Roberts to a business meeting in Waco, Texas. All three men were killed on Dec. 10.

&8220;A tower controller informed the pilot that the weather at the airport was &8216;two-miles visibility with a 200 foot overcast ceiling and fog.&8217; The pilot acknowledged,&8221; the report says.

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&8220;Approximately two minutes later, a tower controller alerted the pilot and said, &8216;low altitude alert &8230; check altitude immediately.&8217; Shortly after, a tower controller reported seeing a &8216;fireball&8217; north of Runway 19.&8221;

The report says the plane was traveling at a ground speed of 81 knots at an altitude of 900 feet when it momentarily ascended to 1,100 feet and maintained the 81 knots. Over the next 30 seconds the altitude descended to 600 feet and a ground speed of 59 knots.

The report also quotes a witness saying the night was a &8220;hazy&8221; one with &8220;sprinkles&8221; and mist.

The NTSB took over the investigation from local authorities on Dec. 11. They investigated at the site for two days.

This preliminary report is the first posting on their Web site at,

Two more reports will come over the next year, but a cause likely won&8217;t be named for at least six months, an NTSB spokeswoman said last week.

Cardneaux held a commercial pilot certificate, a flight instructor certificate and had 3,275 flight hours, the report said.