Coroner identifies 80-year-old pilot from KC killed in plane crash in rural Missouri

A pilot killed Monday when his dual-prop airplane crashed into a grain bin north of Butler, Missouri, has been identified as John N. McConnell Jr., according to the Bates County Coroner.

The 80-year-old McConnell was a resident of both Vero Beach, Florida, and Kansas City, according Coroner Greg D. Mullinax.

McConnell was the only person aboard the plane when it crashed about 10:30 a.m. near 255 County Road N.E. 9004 near Butler, which is a little more than 60 miles south of Kansas City.

The plane, a Cessna twin-turboprop, left Vero Beach Regional Airport shortly before 6 a.m. Central Time and was headed to New Century AirCenter in Olathe, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.

Shortly after takeoff, the plane climbed to about 26,000 feet and maintained a constant speed, according to a flight history logged by FlightAware. Shortly before the crash, the plane’s speed began fluctuating erratically and it began to descend.

The plane is registered to Santa Fe Investments Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware, according to an FAA aircraft registry.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.