Pilot killed in Crawford County plane crash

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mo. - The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of a deadly plane crash Sunday about a mile north of the Cuba Municipal Airport, Sgt. Cody Fulkerson said.

The pilot in the crash is identified as 54-year-old Jeffrey Hansen of St. Charles. According to the flight path, Hansen took off from Bransen this morning in route to Creve Coeur. Fulkerson said the plane crashed into a heavily wooded area and broke into multiple pieces. Hanson and his dog were the only two on the plane. Both were killed, Fulkerson said.

Fulkerson said officers' received a call at 7:45 a.m. about a possible single engine aircraft that went down north of Cuba Municipal Airport. Officers arrived on the scene about three-quarters of mile away and found the Piper PA-32 plane. 

"The debris field is quite extensive," Fulkerson said. "The plane suffered a lot of damage on impact. We have two independent eye witnesses that said that the aircraft appeared to be coming apart while in the air."

Fulkerson said Hansen sent a text to the family about severe weather while flying over Rolla at 7:40 a.m.

As of right now, officers do not know the exact cause of the crash.

"Only thing we can speculate here is that he was trying to land due to some problems," Fulkerson said. "That he was having problems would be the only explanation why he was heading back to this airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration has not immediately returned a phone call or message for comment.