A representative with the Federal Aviation Administration said the entity will be part of a team led by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is in charge of all fatal aircraft accident investigations.
According to the FAA, just before 9:30 p.m. Monday, air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with a twin-engine Cessna 421 that was en route from West Houston Airport to Tulsa Riverside Airport in Oklahoma.
Information released by FAA states that the aircraft maneuvered to avoid weather in the vicinity of Cherokee County and disappeared from radar. The plane exploded on impact, according to the NTSB.
Local search and rescue crews located the wreckage of an aircraft in a field outside Wells with no apparent survivors. John Thomas Steeper, 64, of Broken Arrow, Okla., died in the crash.
FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said Tuesday that the wreckage is badly burned, and officials aren't sure how many people the Cessna 421 carried.
Benton, who has a property lease in the area for cattle, received a call from the property owner and went to check on the land.
His daughter said when they got to the opposite side of the pond that's in that pasture they noticed it has hazier than normal.
Benton said they could see smoke out of the woods, and his daughter and her friends went out where the smoke was coming from and found fire still burning but no evidence of any survivors.
“You (could) hardly walk through these woods, but we found a small opening and went through barb wire…,” Ms. Benton said. “We were following our noses and smelling … We walked maybe four football fields (in length). We had no idea where we were going. We had no idea we were going to find the airplane. We were out in these woods and could not see anything other than smoke until we came up on it.”
Once they came upon the wreckage, they only saw the outline of the plane, and they could see the propeller enough to see what direction it was, she said.
“We knew someone had to have been on it,” she said. “… the odds were it had already caught on fire all the way down. We were looking around and couldn't find anybody. It was pretty crazy.”
She said she stayed and helped take people to the location.
“It really touched me how many people other than authorities who were out there trying to help… There were just a lot of people trying to help,” Ms. Benton said.