Update: Victims identified in deadly plane crash

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - We now know the identities of the three people killed in a plane crash Wednesday afternoon at Huntsville International Airport.

Madison County Deputy Coroner David Young identifies the victims as follows:

  • William Christopher II, 57 of Center Point
  • Robin Gary Smith, 60 of Yukon, Oklahoma
  • Kenneth Lynn Rousseau, 67 of Harpersville

    Robin Smith (Photo: Oklahoma Highway Patrol)

    Robin Smith (Photo: Oklahoma Highway Patrol)

Robin Smith was a retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol lieutenant, according to a release from their office.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says a Westwind II aircraft was trying to depart Huntsville International Airport when the plane caught fire with the three people on board. Bergen was unsure of the plane's destination.

See exclusive aerial footage of the plane crash here.

Madison County Coroner Craig Whisenant confirms the plane's tail number was 793BG.  The plane was registered to SynFuels Holdings Finance LLC out of Birmingham.

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At a 4:00 p.m. press conference, Huntsville International Airport spokesperson Karen Yarbrough confirmed the three passengers on the plane all lost their lives.

She said the air traffic control tower alerted Huntsville International Airport to the crash at 2:21 p.m. The plane, a 10-seater non-commercial aircraft, crashed just to the right of the runway as it was taking off, Yarbrough said.

Nick Dean provided us with the photo you see below of the plane from 2002.  We know the FAA declared the aircraft airworthy until July 31, 2017.




"On behalf of the entire Huntsville international airport, The Port of Huntsville, all of our regional mutual aid response teams are very saddened by this notification of loss of life," Yarbrough said.

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Huntsville International Airport was immediately closed. At least 14 flights into and out of Huntsville International Airport were canceled while crews worked the scene, according to data from flyhuntsville.com.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are responding to investigate the crash.

There is no word on what caused the plane to crash.

The airport has reopened.



    Shame on ALL of you!!! Don’t you even realize people died ! People with families, wives , children ! We are traveling to Alabama from out of state because one of those people was a very dear and loved friend. We are coming to support those who tonight could really care less about the eloquent or not so eloquent speech of this airport rep!!! How about a little love, compassion and prayers for those grieving . Just Saying!

  • A professional pilot who knows the aircraft

    Typical news people can’t get anything right. That airplane was NOT unairworthy. Idiots shouldn’t report things they know nothing about. Gee whiz.

  • A mother

    My daughter and her brothers’ father was on that plane. It is a shock people are more concerned about how the spokesperson appeared than the tragedy of what happened. The loss from our family and the families of the other men on that plane is life shattering. Our families and children will never be the same with out their fathers.

  • A mother

    My daughter and her brothers’ father was on that plane. This has shattered their lives and I am sure the lives of the other men’s families. Men we loved have died and we can no longer be with them. We will never hear their voices or feel a loving hug from their arms. We will never touch their face or hear their laugh again. They are gone from our world. That is real tragedy, not how someone did their job the best they could.

    • Judy

      My heartfelt prayers go out to each of you who have lost a loved one and close friend. I am sorry that some people have no sympathy nor empathy, and all we can do is pray that God will soften their hearts. Perhaps they have not been in the situation you are in and just cannot understand. I have lost and been in pain and although that doesn’t help you, at least it helps me to pray for you in a way I know you need. May God give you peace and uplift you in this time, and give you great memories to hold onto until you meet once again.

  • Dawn

    Thank you Judy for your beautiful comment. I agree with you and may the Lord comfort everyone during this tragedy.

  • Travis Love

    you ought to be ashamed for writing something like this. i bet you wouldnt be making jokes if it was your loved one who passed. people like you are the problem with society today.

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