Assistance Coach Miranda Serna and Head Coach Kurt Budke of Oklahoma State University’s women’s basketball team are dead after their plane went down in central Arkansas Thursday night.
The single-engine plane (a Piper PA-28) carrying coaches Serna and Budke went down about 45 miles west of Little Rock and 4 miles south of Perryville.
Initial reports announced that all four people aboard the small plane died, the other two passengers being the pilot and another person not affiliated with the university.
OSU President Burns Hargis said, “The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims.”
The coaches were on recruiting trip to Arkansas when the crash occurred.
The Perry County Sheriff’s Department said a local woman saw the plane and called 911 to report what she witnessed. Chief Deputy Mike Surrett said, “She saw the airplane swirling. It basically nose-dived and crashed.”
At around 6 p.m. local time, a helicopter located the crash site, where debris was scattered over an area of more than 300 yards. Surrett said the nose of the plane slammed into the side of a steep ridge and created a 5-foot crater. The weather at the time of the flight was clear, and investigators say it may take up to 9 months to determine a cause.
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