Firefighters gather at command center

Firefighters gather at a command center Jan. 8 along Highway F near Defiance while responding to a plane crash in the area.

A Saturday evening plane crash near Defiance has been determined “not survivable” by local officials.

Two people were aboard the Beechcraft Baron BE58, a light, twin-engined piston aircraft, which crashed Saturday evening in a rural part of St. Charles County near Defiance, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating with the National Transportation Safety Board. The plane was en route from Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield to Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado, near Denver.

The plane rapidly descended after reaching 8,000 feet, crashing at 7:19 p.m. in a heavily wooded area, said NTSB spokesperson Peter Knudson.

Local emergency agencies got the call of an aircraft in distress around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, said Kyle Gaines, director of community relations with the St. Charles County Ambulance District. They then got a call from Spirit Airport and several reports from residents near the crash from the New Melle-Defiance area.

“They had heard and felt it go down,” he said.

The plane appeared to turn back toward the airport before the crash, according to the New Melle Fire Protection District’s Facebook page.

A large group of first responders from St. Charles County Ambulance District, St. Charles County Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the New Melle, Wentzville, Cottleville, Wright City and Augusta fire protection districts responded to the crash, Gaines said.

“Numerous utility terrain vehicles were utilized to canvas the area,” he said.

With calls coming from several places, responders had to isolate the likely location of the crash, Gaines said. 

“Obviously, there was a little bit of coordination that had to take place before we could really hone in down to the general area of the wreckage site.”

Drones also were used, according to New Melle Fire.

The wreckage was found shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday off Rugged Acres Drive, about two miles north of the Daniel Boone home and east of the Fred Weber Quarry. 

The wreckage was found in very small pieces spread out over around 300 yards, Gaines said.

“The determination was made last night that it was not a survivable impact, based on the state of the wreckage and that sort of thing, so the search was called off last night,” Gaines said Sunday morning. “The conditions certainly were less than ideal last night, also.” 

Cold, wet and foggy weather was seen around the area Saturday night.

Emergency response officials at the scene Saturday said it is unlikely that anyone could have survived the crash, but continued to search for possible survivors. 

The NTSB will be the lead investigation into possible causes of the plane's crash. Knudson said Sunday that the FAA is expected to begin preliminary investigation at the scene Sunday, with an  NTSB investigator from Denver arriving on the scene Monday morning.

Investigators are typically on scene for two to three days, with a preliminary report expected out in about two weeks, Knudson said.

“That will lay out facts and circumstances of the accident,” he said. 

A complete investigation with probable cause and contributing factors is expected to take one to two years, Knudson said.

Identities of the victims were not released as of Sunday morning.