Saturday morning, September 9, 2022, a plane could be spotted by some flying erratically above Tupelo, Mississippi. Around 6:30 a.m., officials warned Mississippi residents to stay on alert after the pilot reportedly threatened to intentionally crash into a Walmart before flying erratically around the city for an hour.
The pilot of that aircraft was taken into custody shortly after landing safely in a field in Benton County. It was concluded that the unidentified pilot stole a twin-turboprop Beechcraft King Air plane, taking off from the Tupelo Regional Airport and flying between 900 to 2,000 feet in elevation.
Authorities have not identified the pilot nor discovered their motive behind the incident and can only describe him as a 29-year-old man. The situation is no longer deemed dangerous.
The small aircraft, a 9-seater with two engines, was not occupied by anyone else other than the pilot in question.
Around 5 a.m., the Tupelo police department stated on their official Facebook that they received contact with the man flying an unauthorized plane. From there, the police continued talking directly with the pilot to garner the severity of the situation, meanwhile conducting an emergency evacuation for any pedestrians from the area.
The planes’ flight patterns were monitored at that time through FlightAware, a flight tracking website. The pilot’s progression was tracked about 40 miles northwest in Benton and Union Counties before eventually making its descent in Benton County at 10:07 a.m. After that, the plane started a “zig-zagging” flight pattern around Tulpeo, a city known as the birthplace of famous rock and roll King Elvis Presley.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it is currently coordinating with local authorities to investigate the flights preceding.
Written by Brielle R. Buford
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The New York Times: Pilot Lands After Threatening to Crash Small Into a Walmart
NDTV: Stolen US Plane Crash-Lands After Pilot Threatens To Hit Walmart Store
Featured and Top Image by Ronnie Macdonald Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Logan Rickert’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License