Search for two missing in Louisiana plane crash suspended

Carla Harmon
August 31, 2016

"You know, he died that way", said Yolanda White, Hillard's cousin.

The third person aboard the plane was Hillard's girlfriend who was saved after he pushed her out as the plane began to sink.

The younger Hilliard grew up in Baton Rouge and worked there as a tattoo artist, his father said.

Morris said the pilot had extensive flight experience.

New Orleans Police Department spokeswoman Dawne Massey says in a statement early Sunday that department officials responded Saturday to a report that a Cessna aircraft carrying three people had crashed into Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans Lakefront Airport.

"It's going to be moved to a secure facility in which they'll do a detailed wreckage layout and examine it further", Weiss said.

His family is calling Hilliard a hero. "Not just family - he wanted to take care of everybody", he said. "Just a good guy. They had a great flight".

"He loved his life and he lived it to the fullest".

"He was a friend; that's all", she said in a telephone interview.

Authorities say dive teams are still looking for the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in a mud-bottomed New Orleans lake 24 miles wide and 40 miles long.

Morris held little hope that the two men survived.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, which is assisting in the investigation, said it could take anywhere from a few months to a year before an investigation wraps up.

According to local New Orleans media NOLA the plane's remains were located on Sunday afternoon as members of the New Orleans Fire Department, New Orleans Police Department divers, U.S. Coast Guard rescue boats and also a helicopter from the United States Coast Guard continued their search for the pilot and one of the passengers who are still missing from the plane.

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