A Kansas pilot whose religious ministry included providing free flights for cancer patients and wounded veterans was one of five people killed in an Oklahoma plane crash Saturday morning.
An Extra Flugzeugbau EA-400 with a pilot and four passengers crashed under unknown circumstances near Ponca City, Okla., Saturday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a report. The six-seat, single-engine plane was registered to Jeremiah 29:11 Inc. in Independence, Kan., according to FAA records.
The Independence Rural Fire Department said in a Facebook post that Sycamore firefighter Nicholas Warner was killed in the crash, as were two of his sons; his father, Bill Warner; and a friend, Tim Valentine.
Bill Warner is listed as the owner of Warner Ag-Air, a crop-dusting company in Independence.
Valentine was a pastor and international businessman who founded Jeremiah 29:11 Inc. with his wife in 1998, according to the organization’s website. Among the services listed on the website are “pro bono flights for cancer patients, wounded veterans, Boy Scouts, and other individual and nonprofit organizations.”
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol told News 9 that five people flew to Ponca City for a fly-in breakfast. The airport manager told The Associated Press that the Ponca City Aviation Booster Club hosts a fly-in, drive-in breakfast the first Saturday of each month.
The airplane was northbound leaving the airport when it lost altitude and crashed at around 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, The Associated Press reported. The Highway Patrol said the aircraft caught on fire. The plane had crashed in a soybean field, 5 News reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a tweet that it was investigating the crash. An NTSB spokesman said a preliminary report typically takes seven to 10 days to complete.
Valentine had appeared in season three of the hit Netflix series “Last Chance U,” 12UP reported. Independence Community College head football coach Jason Brown said in a tweet that Valentine was his friend.
“Pirate Nation was devastated today with the sudden death of my friend and even better man, deepest condolences to his wife and kids our hearts hurt but he gave our program a great quote which we will never forget ‘success is not an accident’ Fly forever RIP Tim Valentine,” Brown tweeted.