A Pryor business owner and his wife were killed in a plane crash in rural Arkansas. Ivan Williams III and wife Adina died when their single-engine Piper aircraft crashed Monday afternoon.
Ivan Williams is the CEO of Williams Construction in Pryor. Records show he purchased the plane in September. He and his wife had apparently traveled to Alabama for a weekend football trip, and were headed back to Claremore when they crashed.
The wreckage was discovered in a remote area about 60 miles northeast of Fort Smith.
While the investigation is underway, people who knew the Williamses are deeply saddened by the sudden deaths.
The loss of contact with a single engine plane piloted by Pryor businessman Ivan Williams prompted a search Monday of rugged terrain in Arkansas. After resuming the search in daylight, the wreckage was discovered.
"The wreckage was scattered over a couple hundred yards. They crashed into a wooded area. It would have been really hard to spot from the air, because it was in small pieces," said Glenn Wheeler, with Tri-County Search and Rescue.
Ivan Williams notified air traffic control the plane was experiencing problems and the plane lost altitude while traveling at about 170 miles per hour.
"Just shocked everybody. [It's] a bad deal," said Roy Hamill.
Hamill owns a trucking business next-door to the Williams Construction company, and has known Ivan Williams for decades.
"He was just honest, kind, just a good fellow, just the kind of fellow you could sit down with, shake hands and do anything, you know?" Hamill said.
The Williamses are being remembered as wonderful people, filled with kindness and generosity. It's why Pryor Mayor Jimmy Tramel fought back tears when talking about the loss.
"What Ivan and his family have given this community, the vision he's had for this community--you look at it, it's amazing," Tramel said.
Ivan and Adina Williams supported a number of non-profit groups and charities. Tramel said they cared deeply about others and the community.
"He was always there, greet you with a handshake, greet you with a smile. When you saw Adina, same way," Tramel said.
Light rain was falling when the plane crashed. Investigators will determine if it was a factor.
According to a public aircraft tracking site called Flight Aware, in the last few minutes before the crash, the plane's altitude dropped nearly 1,500 feet.
"We've lost a great person, him and his wife, to this community," Tramel said.
Among countless acts of generosity, the Williams family donated property for a city park in Pryor. Mayor Trammel said Ivan Williams was also instrumental in getting a recreation center built in Pryor.