A twin-engine plane crashed Friday night as it tried to land in a heavy thunderstorm, killing all seven people on board, sheriff's deputies said.
Earlier Friday, five people died in small-plane crashes in New York and Texas, leaving Friday's civil aviation death toll at 12.In addition, lightning struck a TWA jetliner 50 miles from Little Rock's airport Friday, and a huge fuel spill at San Francisco's airport forced delays and diversions for hundreds of flights.
The names of the seven dead in the Batesville crash were not available, said Roger Williams, a dispatcher for the Independence County Sheriff's Department.
Williams said the blue and white aircraft "had made one approach and missed the Batesville airport and they were attempting a second time" when it crashed just after 6 p.m.
The flight originated at Orange, Texas, outside Houston, said Wayne Beckmann, duty officer at the Federal Aviation Administration's southwest regional office in Fort Worth.
Beckmann confirmed that the plane crashed after its second approach. Arkansas was under a flash flood watch when the crash occurred during a heavy thunderstorm.
"The weather was about as bad as you can get," Williams said. "The officers at the scene said it was raining, and so foggy you couldn't see the ground."