"[We want] to bestow condolences to the family and friends of those who perished in the crash," said a lead investigator of the National Transportation Safety Board, Stuart Bothwell, who called a press conference on Monday morning.
"This is one of the worst accidents I've come across," said Bothwell. "I've done some pretty bad accidents, but as far as the destruction of aircraft, this is one of the worst aircraft I've looked at."
The crash killed Don Thompson, Dean Hart Sr., and Max Larche -- all from Northeast Louisiana --
and the pilot, Mason Maudlin of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Investigators say the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza left Beaumont, Tex. around 12:25 p.m. on Thursday, the day of the crash. Airport officials say the plane lost radio contact and dropped off radar shortly before 2 p.m.
Bothwell says the plane had a missed approach due to problems with the landing gear, then crashed into a marshy area in Richwood and left a hole in the ground, measuring eight feet in the deepest part. The crash also created a one acre debris field. Crews had to dig a hole just to extract the wreckage, and didn't fully remove it until noon Sunday.
Bothwell also said the last ground speed recorded on place was in excess of 200 knots, or around 230 miles per hour.
"The normal approach for a Beechcraft is 120 knots," said Bothwell.
A picture of the plane taken at an unknown date before the crash. (flightaware.com)
Stuart Bothwell at Monday's press conference.