KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A small airplane that crashed in southeast Kansas was carrying five people with connections to Oral Roberts University to a Christian youth rally in Iowa, a friend of three of the victims said Saturday.
The Kansas Highway Patrol reported that four of the passengers died in Friday's crash and one was badly injured. Those killed were identified Saturday as pilot Luke Sheets, 23, of Ephraim, Wis.; Austin Anderson, 27, of Ringwood, Okla.; Garrett Coble, 29, of Tulsa, Okla.; and Stephen Luth, 22, of Muscatine, Iowa.
Hannah Luce, 22, of Garden Valley, Texas, was critically injured and admitted to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. Luce, a recent Oral Roberts graduate, is the daughter of Ron Luce, a trustee at the school and the founder of Teen Mania Ministries, which was sponsoring this weekend's Acquire the Fire rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the twin-engine Cessna 401 went down around 4:30 p.m. Friday northwest of Chanute, Kan. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said the eight-seat plane caught fire after the crash.
"The plane lost contact with air traffic control after getting permission to descend to a lower altitude," Knudson said. "After that, there was no further communication."
Brooke Ninowski, who recently graduated from Oral Roberts, said she had been friends with Anderson for about two years — he was her brother's roommate for a semester. She said they also had a few classes together.