Crash site debris field investigation underway: First photos available

Union County MS crash site debris field
A portion of what is believed to be the Identification number of a business jet that crashed in Union County April 13.
April 16th, 2019     General News

The large business jet that crashed Saturday afternoon in southeastern Union County left a crash site debris field estimated at about 6 acres.

Officials are actively investigating crash site debris field for evidence

Emergency personnel on the scene have described the debris field as “about 100 yards by 300 yards.” The destruction was apparently not from fire or explosion, rather it was from impact. Reportedly, there were “only three very small fires.”

The Rockwell Sabreliner 65 that crashed around 5 p.m. Saturday is a relatively large business jet. Its wingspan is slightly over 50 feet. The Sabreliner 65 could carry a total weight of more than 20,000 pounds. Based on photographs and observations of personnel on the scene, the aircraft and its contents apparently shattered into thousands of relatively small pieces as it plowed its way through the trees and brush. The airplane knocked the tops from trees as it descended.

Officials have not determined the cause of the crash.

Only preliminary report might be released soon

The investigation into the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues. Additionally, a collection crew and insurance investigators arrived on the scene Tuesday morning, April 16. They have commenced what will be a painstaking collection of evidence at the site, which is in Union County near the Pontotoc County line.


It is expected that the NTSB might issue a “preliminary report” in one to two weeks. A more detailed report could follow in about nine months.  However, a final or probable cause report will likely not be issued for a year or so.

The NTSB investigation will routinely consider factors of “man, machine, and environment.” This includes the airplane itself and its maintenance history, the training and experience of the pilot, weather and other conditions.

Two experienced pilots were aboard plane

Tommy and Merline Nix, husband of wife, of Belmont, MS and Jarrod Holloway of Booneville died in the crash. Tommy Nix and Holloway were reportedly piloting the airplane, which is believed to have been manufactured in 1980. Reportedly, they informed Memphis Air Traffic Control of electrical problems shortly before the plane disappeared from radar screens.

The flight originated at the University/Oxford Airport.  It was destined for the Hamilton/Marion County, Alabama, Airport. The crash is said to have occurred about 20 minutes into the flight.

Personnel from the office of Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards and of Union County Emergency Services Director Curt Clayton, as well as members of Union County fire departments, participated in the search for the downed aircraft. They continue to assist FAA and NTSB personnel at the crash site.

Early photos of Sabreliner 65 crash site:

Curt Clayton took the photographs accompanying this article and provided them to To the best of everyone’s knowledge, no human remains are depicted in any of these photos.

Oxford Lawyer Dickie Scruggs was on Sabreliner 65 shortly before crash:

Three killed in jet crash:

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