Steven Davis, the 60-year-old former quarterback, and Wesley Caves, 58, both of Tulsa, Oklahoma, were killed in the crash that also injured three other people in South Bend, said Randy Magdalinski, coroner of St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Davis’ former Oklahoma coach, Barry Switzer, said Davis wasn’t a highly-regarded recruit, but excelled when he won a starting job.
“He went on to post a 32-1-1 record and help us win two national championships,” Switzer said. “Steve was surrounded by great talent on those teams, but he was truly an exceptional leader. I was proud of him. The entire state of Oklahoma was proud of him. We still are.”
OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said, “We extend our sympathies to Steve’s family and others whose lives he touched. He was a great champion and someone who set a wonderful example for others. We will miss him very much.”
The Hawker Beechcraft 390 that Davis and Caves were on slammed into a South Bend neighborhood, damaging three single-story homes.
Davis and Caves died on impact. Two other people aboard were injured, as was one person on the ground, Assistant Fire Chief John Corthier said late Sunday.
The plane was sheared in half — its nose poking through the front window of a shattered home. It was attempting to circle back to the city’s regional airport after a failed landing attempt.
Moments earlier, the plane’s pilot had radioed for help, CNN affiliate WNDU-TV reported.
He was experiencing problems with the technical equipment, he said.
The plane was almost on its back and was “spiraling down,” resident Theresa Futa told WNDU.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life ever.”
A representative of the National Transportation Safety Board arrived late Sunday to investigate the crash.
The plane left Tulsa, Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon, and was scheduled to land at South Bend Regional Airport about 80 minutes later at 4:20 p.m. ET, WNDU reported.
The troubled aircraft startled Shelby Ramirez, who was driving in the area.
“I happened to see the shadow and I said ‘Oh my God. I’ve never seen a plane that low,'” Ramirez said. “And I would say if it was 3 feet above the top of the car it was something. It could have dropped on us.”
By Janet DiGiacomo and Ed Payne. CNN’s Jim Spellman, Jackie Castillo, Dana Ford and Jessica Jordan contributed to this report.
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