JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - On a stormy afternoon in October, a small plane crashed into the Mississippi Sound, killing the three men aboard. One year later, the search continues for the remains of the victims. And despite the passage of time, the searchers may be getting close.
"In some ways, it feels like it was just yesterday, you know," said Tina Cook of Saucier, "And in some ways, feels like it's been forever."
Cook lost the love of her life on that fateful day. Her husband, Dexter Brewer, was a passenger on the plane which plunged into the Mississippi Sound.
Though significant pieces of the wreckage were found, the remains of the victims were never recovered.
"I'm just appreciative that we're still looking. That I still have help. That we have Mark and that he's not giving up. That the DMR and other people working with us have not given up," said Cook.
"This is the critical piece that I looked at," said Mark Michaud, as he pointed to a photograph of recovered wreckage. "You can see, there's your tail. It has the numbers on it."
Michaud is an underwater recovery expert who’s been working with the family.
He is convinced the remaining portion of plane wreckage, along with the victims' remains, are located beneath the bottom of the sound, embedded in the mud at the spot where the plane went down; the same place the Coast Guard recovered a large tail piece.
"Maybe a piece of the starboard or right side of the cabin. Forward of the wing, and the engine. And of course, the remains. The bones of the three men that were onboard that aircraft," he said.
"We've done our homework and we think now that we have the information that we need to finally be able to bring Dexter home," said Cook, "And that's the goal of all this, to be able to bring him and the other two guys home."
Dexter Brewer's father is longing for some closure.
"Well, I hope so. I appreciate what everybody's been doing for it, you know," said Pettis Brewer.
"We're not going to go away, we're not going to back down. We're going to keep on going until we bring him home," said Tina Cook.
Story and photo gallery: http://www.wlox.com
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -
It's been nine weeks since Dexter Brewer's plane went missing off the coast of Jackson County. Over time, his wife says some people have started to ask why she won't accept she may never have a body to bury.
"People have asked me that. They've said, 'You know that he's gone. Why don't you just go on with your life?'" said Dexter's wife, Tina Cook. "Dexter was the love of my life and I can't go on until I know where he's at."
Dennis and Tammy Watters of Team Watters Sonar, Search and Recovery are using several types of sonar equipment to find the plane, and the three men who were aboard. Unfortunately, the husband and wife team can only search three eighths of square mile a day while looking beneath the surface.
"It's taken us way longer than usual.....the shallowness of the water doesn't allow us to use a lot of range in an effective search," said Dennis. "I could set this thing off at 100 feet on each side, go down there and tell you that it's searched, but it won't be. That's the problem. To tell you for sure that an area has been searched, we have to lower that range and make a lot more passes than normal."
Dennis and Tammy say they are committed to keep looking; no matter how long it takes.
"At the end of the day the only thing that is going to find this plane is a lot of hard work," said Dennis. "You've got to get out there and just pound away with your sonar."
From the Watters to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Cook says she's grateful to everyone who has given their time and support.
"There's no closure. You can't go on, and you're stuck," said Cook. "You feel like you're stuck in a rut that you can't get out of."
Cook says she won't give up because she knows her husband wouldn't give up on her. The National Transportation Safety Board has not identified the cause of the crash, but officials say there was stormy weather that day.
Dexter Brewer's wife and the wife of passenger Gerald Miletello have created a GoFundMe account to help pay for expenses from the search.
Aircraft previously registered as N808PX:http://registry.faa.gov/N808PX
NTSB Identification: ERA16LA028
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 26, 2015 in Pascagoula, MS
Aircraft: SCHUMACHER Lancair Super ES, registration: N817PR
Injuries: 3 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On October 26, 2015, about 1237 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Lancair Super ES, N817PR, operated by a private individual, was presumed destroyed after it impacted the Mississippi Sound, in the vicinity of Pascagoula, Mississippi. The commercial pilot and two passengers were presumed fatally injured. The airplane departed from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT), Gulfport, Mississippi, about 1220. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure airport. No flight plan had been filed for the personal flight that was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to preliminary information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was owned by the pilot and based at Monroe Regional Airport (MLU), Monroe, Louisiana. Earlier in the day, the pilot flew from MLU to Ruston, Louisiana (RSN) to pick up one passenger, and then to GPT to pick up the second passenger. According to the wife of one of the passengers, the pilot was flying the occupants to South Carolina to attend a business meeting. Prior to departure from GPT, the pilot stated to air traffic controllers that he intended to take some pictures in the local area and then continue to "Daytona Beach." The airplane departed from runway 14 at GPT, made a left turn to the northeast at the Gulfport shoreline, and climbed to an altitude of 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl). About 1226, the pilot requested and was approved to terminate air traffic control flight following. The airplane's transponder code changed to "1200" and the pilot made a right turn to the southeast. The last recorded radar target with an associated altitude was at 1234:37, at an altitude of 2,800 feet msl; however, additional radar targets consistent with the accident airplane continued to about 1237, with the airplane located over the Mississippi Sound, about 10 miles south of the Trent Lott International Airport (PQL), Pascagoula, Mississippi. Fragmented debris associated with the airplane was subsequently found on a beach located about 9 miles northwest of the last radar target. A section of the empennage was located in the water about 3 miles northwest of the last radar target.
As of November 4, 2015, personnel from the United States Coast Guard and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources had not located the occupants.
A search of the FAA aircraft registry database revealed that "N817PR" was not an active registration. A pilot operating handbook with the registration "N808PX" was located among the debris. A representative from the pilot's family confirmed that the airplane had been previously registered as N808PX. Federal Aviation Administration records revealed that the accident airplane was issued a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category on October 9, 2003, and it was purchased by the pilot through a limited liability company during August 2006.
The pilot reported 4,441 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA third-class medical certificate, which was issued on September 26, 2014.
The weather reported at PQL at 1237, included wind from 110 degrees at 15 knots, with 25 knot gusts, visibility 4 miles in light rain and mist, scattered clouds at 800 feet above ground level, ceiling broken at 1,200 feet, overcast at 2,100 feet, temperature 23 degrees C, dew point 22 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.73 inches of Hg.
In addition, there were active weather advisors for convective activity and instrument meteorological conditions for the area around the airplane's last known position. The wife of one of the passengers reported that while on the ground at GPT, her husband stated that the pilot intended to fly along the coast to avoid "the worst of the weather."
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Jackson FSDO-31
Any witnesses should email firstname.lastname@example.org, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email email@example.com.