Victims identified in fatal Pope County plane crash

Posted: November 3, 2015 at 1:06 p.m.

The burnt wreckage of a single-engine airplane lays among the trees on Crow Mountain in Russellville.

The identities of four people killed in a small plane crash last week near Russellville were released by the Pope County sheriff's office Tuesday.

The pilot was identified as Phillip Cowger, 65, who died along with passengers Robert Harris, 48; Wesley Harris, 43; and Julie Harris Lefevre, 41, a news release from the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office cited the Arkansas medical examiner's office in confirming the identities.

The Pope County coroner said last week that DNA testing would be required to make a positive identification on the bodies.

The plane crashed into a hillside near the base of Crow Mountain shortly after takeoff from the nearby Russellville airport early Thursday morning.

The plane was flying to Knoxville to allow the passengers to attend a family member's funeral, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

The National Transportation Safety Administration has been charged with investigating the crash. An agency spokesman said last week that fog had been reported in the area the morning of the crash.