— -- Four people were killed this morning when their private plane crashed in a field in Tupelo, Mississippi, shortly after takeoff, authorities say.
In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said that the Beech BE36 crashed a half-mile from Tupelo Regional Airport at around 8:30 a.m. local time. Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre said today that the plane was "briefly" in the air before it crashed.
The FAA said the plane was carrying three passengers and a pilot.
The single-engine private plane was heading to Charlottesville, Virginia, according to FlightAware. The plane had taken off from Kerrville, Texas, and landed in Tupelo Sunday.
The names of the deceased had not yet been released.
The FAA said the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit before the crash. "We got smoke in our cockpit. We need to come back around," the pilot could be heard saying on air-traffic control audio.
"From what I can tell you right now there's quite a bit of debris," Aguirre said today during a news conference. "The wreckage is very broken up."
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating the crash.