The two people on board a small plane that crashed Friday morning in a field in southeast Sedgwick County, near 95th South and Webb Road, were killed, authorities said.
The 1975 Cessna 500, a twin-engine business jet, was registered to Dufresne Inc., a California corporation, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Two people were on board, FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said.
Sheriff Jeff Easter said there were no survivors in the crash that was reported shortly after 10:15 a.m.
“The plane is completely destroyed,” Easter said during a briefing at the crash site. “We have found pieces of human remains.”
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The victims’ identities were expected to be officially confirmed this afternoon by the sheriff’s office.
Ed Dufresne, a pastor at World Harvest Church in Murrieta, Calif., spoke Thursday night at a Wichita church, Triumphant Faith Center on South Seneca and at Abundant Life Family Church in Dodge City on Wednesday night.
“This is such a shock,” said Jim Ames, pastor at the Dodge City church. “He was just here, and then to hear this.”
Dufresne’s wife, Nancy, who also is a pastor at World Harvest, was not with him on the visits to Kansas, Ames said. He said Dufresne was traveling with his pilot, Mitch Morgan.
Dufresne was in his late 70s and had just returned from preaching in Brazil and Russia, Ames said.
“We’ve known him for more than 30 years,” Ames said, “but in the last 15 we’ve come to a much closer relationship. He was very much a mentor to us. He took us under his wing. He was a father figure.”
A woman who answered the phone at the home of Jerry Burlie, pastor at Triumphant Faith Center, confirmed that Dufresne spoke at the Wichita church, but she deferred further questions to Dufresne’s family.
Dufresne was scheduled to speak Friday night at Word and Spirit Church in Schertz, Texas, near San Antonio. His wife was scheduled to join him next week in Silsbee, Texas.
The plane crashed a quarter mile north of 95th between Webb and Greenwich, just east of a cemetery, and left a debris field with a radius of up to 1 1/2 miles, Easter said.
A 911 caller reported seeing a plane go straight into the ground, followed by black smoke. Other witnesses saw pieces falling off the plane as it came down, Easter said, and there was a small fire after the crash.
The plane had taken off from Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport, Easter said, but he added that he didn’t know its destination.
Easter said authorities weren’t aware of a distress call by the pilot before the crash.
Traffic was blocked from traveling on 95th between Rock Road and Greenwich.
Because it was a fatal crash, the National Transportation Safety Board will join the FAA in the investigation, Molinaro said.
Fire units from Sedgwick County, Derby and Mulvane responded.