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Plane crash before LSU Peach Bowl: Carley McCord among 5 victims identified

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 12/29/2019 Doug Stanglin and Ashley White, Lafayette Daily Advertiser
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LAFAYETTE, La. — A small passenger plane en route to Atlanta for a College Football Playoff game crashed Saturday in an open field in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing five people. One person in the plane survived and has been hospitalized.

Among the victims: Carley McCord, the daughter-in-law of Louisiana State University's offensive coordinator, Steve Ensminger. LSU is set to face Oklahoma University Saturday evening in the Peach Bowl.

The plane's pilot, 51-year-old Ian Biggs; 59-year-old Robert Vaughn Crisp II; 51-year-old Gretchen Vincent; and 15-year-old Michael Walker Vincent also died in the crash, the Lafayette Fire Department confirmed. 

Stephen Wade Berzas, 37, another passenger on the plane, was taken to a hospital where he is listed as being in critical condition.

 

Three bystanders were also injured and transported to the hospital. And two people who were in the U.S. Post Office near the crash also were treated for smoke inhalation.

Witnesses accounts: 'My instinct was just to run over there and make sure everybody was OK'

The plane, coming in low, clipped a post office building and nearby tree, then hit a car before skidding through an open field, leaving a black, burning scar in the grass.  

The plane, which can carry eight passengers, was en route to the Peach Bowl, Steven Ensminger Jr. told The Associated Press. His wife, Carley McCord, was on board and died in the crash, Ensminger Jr. said. McCord was a sports reporter.

What we know: Plane crash in Louisiana kills 5

"I was shaking; I was scared," said Alexis West, who lives nearby and saw the crash. "It just crashed and skidded across to the post office and just burst into flames."

West, who said her whole house shook when the plane hit the ground, said several people jumped out of vehicles to rush to the plane. They were able to pull one person from the plane, she said.

"They pulled him out and set him on the ground," she said.

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The plane took off in cloudy, but not rainy, weather from Lafayette Regional Airport about two miles away at a 9:20 a.m. on a planned two-hour flight to Dekalb-Peachtree airport, according to Flightaware.com

McCord was a Baton Rouge native and sports reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans, according to her website. She also appeared as a sideline reporter for ESPN. McCord previously worked in television in Cleveland, and she was a two-time runner-up in the Miss Louisiana pageant.

“We are devastated by the loss of such an amazing talent and valued member of our WDSU family,” said WDSU President and General Manager, Joel Vilmenay. “Carley’s passion for sports journalism and her deep knowledge of Louisiana sports, from high school to the professional ranks, made her an exceptional journalist. “

The fourth-largest city in Louisiana, Lafayette had a population of about 130,000 according to the 2018 census and is located about 135 miles west of New Orleans.

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Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Plane crash before LSU Peach Bowl: Carley McCord among 5 victims identified

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