NEW ORLEANS -- The founder and two other executives from one of the world's largest ammunition manufacturers were killed Thursday in the crash of a twin-engine plane during adverse weather conditions.
Authorities said the plane owned by Hornady Manufacturing Co., Grand Island, Neb., plunged into Lake Pontchartrain about 100 feet short of its runway while making an instrument approach to New Orleans Lakefront Airport in dense fog.
In Grand Island, a company spokesman today said the victims were J.W. Hornady, 73, the president who founded the firm in 1949; Edward A. Heers, 34, an engineer and James W. Garber, 29, of the sales division.
Authorities said Hornady was piloting the six-seat aircraft.
The company said the three were en route to New Orleans to exhibit the firm's products at the SPOT, a sporting goods show.
Searchers combed the area for about seven hours Thursday before yielding to bad weather.
The company spokesman in Grand Island said today, 'as far as we know they have not located the bodies.'
An airport security officer saw the plane go down.
'He was cleared for approach,' said Peter David, control tower chief. 'That was our last transmission with him.
'We don't have that much traffic,' David said. 'Nobody's flying because of the weather.'
At the time of the crash, Chick Chachere, a spokesman for The Orleans Levee Board, which runs the airport, said the weather was 'clear as a bell' on the south side of the hurricane protection levee that surrounds the airport.
However, Chachere said the airpot was ' completely wrapped in dense fog.'
The FAA said conditions at the time of the crash were a 100-foot ceiling obscured with 8-mile fog.