The Kansas Highway Patrol, local authorities and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a plane crash that left two people dead near Great Bend.
The accident happened around 11:30 a.m. Sunday west of the Great Bend Municipal Airport, according to Martin Miller, the airport’s manager.
It marks the third plane crash in four months that has affected the Barton County community.
At 3:15 p.m. Sunday, the NTSB said on Twitter that the agency was investigating the accident at Great Bend and that the plane was an experimental amateur-built Schrieber P-70.
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One of the victims in the crash was Roger Brining, a prominent farmer and entrepreneur in Barton County who owned land adjacent to the airport, Miller said. The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the other victim as 24-year-old Daniel Bishop.
“Roger was very active in community affairs and was a member of the Airport Advisory Board for the past four years,” Miller said.
The two were close friends.
“He was very energetic and outgoing and always had a lot of spinning plates going with his business ventures and farming,” Miller said.
Brining, 49, was past president of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1134 and was a mentor in Young Eagles, an organization that promotes aviation with youths, Miller said.
His family had a historic legacy in the community. The federal government purchased land from the Brining family in 1942 to help build the Great Bend Army Air Field during World War II, Miller said.
The two other plane crashes that have occurred in the past four months include one involving Glenn and Elaine Mull, their daughter Amy Harter and granddaughter Sami Harter, who were aboard a twin-engine Gulfstream 690C aircraft that crashed Feb. 3 about 15 miles from Nashville. Glenn Mull, the pilot, 62, was the owner of Mid-Kansas Agri Co. and Mull’s Farms and Feeding, a feed yard near Pawnee Rock.
In the other crash, on April 22, Barton County Commissioner Don Cates was killed while crop dusting near Garfield.
“My first reaction was not again,” said Marty Keenan, a longtime Great Bend attorney and now a Nebraska political science and criminology professor. “It is so discouraging because we are losing first-class people who are givers in the community. Plane crashes happen, but you never think they will happen to people you know, especially to so many people involved in the community and that do so much good. It leaves a void ... a big hole.”
Brining was the owner of Brining Farms and was past president of the Kansas Ag Technology and Research Association.
He was an Air Force veteran and before taking over Brining Farms, he ran a computer and Internet business.