UPDATE: Plane stolen from Mississippi airport appears to have ceased flying. Reports are the pilot is alive.
Published 10:28 am Saturday, September 3, 2022
A man who reportedly stole a plane from the Tupelo airport and reportedly threatened to crash the plane into a Walmart store had local, state and federal law enforcement tracking his movements as he did loop after loop above Tupelo and other areas in North Mississippi.
The website FlightAware tracked the plane and indicated that the pilot flew the plane in erratic circles above the Holly Springs National Forest before the tracking stopped shortly after 10 a.m.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that the plane landed near the town of Ashland and that the pilot Cory Patterson of Shannon, Mississippi, is alive.
Patterson is a 2011 Tupelo High School graduate.
Patterson posted a message on social media Saturday morning saying, “Sorry everyone. Never actually wanted to hurt anyone. I love my parents and sister this isn’t your fault. Goodbye.”
The Facebook message was flooded with prayers and pleas from family, friends and others to land the plane safely.
Mississippi officials were carefully monitoring a small airplane that was erratically circling for hours in Tupelo Saturday morning. Reports are that the pilot threatened to crash into a local Walmart store.
Tupelo Police say they were notified about the situation at 5 a.m.
The airplane veered out of the area shortly after 9 a.m.
Buildings along West Main Street in Tupelo were evacuated as the twin-engine turboprop airplane circled above.
“Citizens are asked to avoid that area until an all clear is given. With the mobility of an airplane of that type the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo,” the police department said in a statement.
State law enforcement and emergency managers are closely tracking this dangerous situation. All citizens should be on alert and aware of updates from the Tupelo Police Department. https://t.co/hQ8GxcR8s0
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) September 3, 2022
Governor Tate Reeves responded via social media Saturday morning.
“State law enforcement and emergency managers are closely tracking this dangerous situation,” Gov. Tate Reeves said in a statement. “All citizens should be on alert and aware of updates from the Tupelo Police Department.”
The FlightAware website indicates that the plane is Beechcraft King Air 90 turboprop owned by a local urologist.
Reports are that the plane was stolen from the Tupelo airport. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that multiple authorities have identified the pilot as Cory Patterson of Shannon. Shannon is a 2011 Tupelo High School graduate.
Currently we have a 29yr old who stole this plane & is threatening to crash it into something. Polices ,ambulances ,& fire trucks are everywhere. Everything is shutdown rn pic.twitter.com/AzebdIa3tP
— City King (@CityKing_Gank_) September 3, 2022