What authorities believe to be a joyride in a plane has led to the deaths of three teenagers. The teens crashed soon after takeoff in a small, private plane near Jasper, Alabama.
"I think they were just looking for a thrill and they had their last one," Walker County sheriff's Chief Deputy James Painter told the Associated Press. "We don't know for sure, but we think it was some teenagers who stole the plane and were sort of joyriding in it. They got in it and took off and didn't go very far."
The teens' names have not been released to the public, pending notification of their families. What is known is that one of the teens was a student pilot flying with two of his friends. He was not authorized to fly the model of plane he flew in on Tuesday night and had only had training on a single-engine plane.
"It was a student pilot flying an airplane without permission, an airplane that he was not qualified to fly at night," airport manager Edwin Banks said. "He got in a double-engine at night in bad weather with a couple of his buddies." It was surely a recipe for disaster for the three young people.
Local resident Margaret Swann told AP that the crash happened "just across the fence" from her home.
"This land here, if it's dry, you can go on it," she said. "If it's wet, stay off."
Because of the bad weather, it took time for authorities to locate the wreckage of the plane. It's unknown whether or not any of those on board could have survived the crash, had rescuers been able to respond more quickly.
"I feel so sorry for the families of the young men in the plane … It's a terrible, terrible thing," Swann noted.
There's no word as to who the plane belonged to or how the young men were able to steal it without anyone noticing.