Funerals held for reporter, pilot from Louisiana plane crash

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Funeral services were held for a Louisiana sports reporter and a pilot who died last week in a plane crash in Lafayette.

Five people were killed in the crash as they headed to the Peach Bowl to see Louisiana State University play Oklahoma in Atlanta.

Carley McCord, 30, was a local reporter. McCord’s funeral was held at St Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge. Memorial services were held in the church parish hall after the funeral. The local television station where she worked, WDSU, showed a long line of people waiting to get into the church.

Family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a memorial scholarship fund set up in McCord’s honour. The fund will benefit women pursing a degree in sports journalism at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, where McCord was a student.

The plane’s pilot, Ian E Biggs, 51, was also laid to rest in Lafayette. The Advertiser newspaper reported that hundreds of people packed the chapel where his service was held, with crowds overflowing into the lobby and hallway.

Biggs worked for a Lafayette-based technology firm, Global Data Systems, for the past 20 years. Most of the five people killed on the plane had a connection with the firm. The company’s founder, Chuck Vincent, spoke during Biggs’ service of his love of family and his hobbies of hunting, camping, fishing and flying.

“He was truly a part of our family,” said Vincent. Vincent’s daughter-in-law, Gretchen D Vincent, 51, and her son Michael Walker Vincent, 15, were killed in the crash.

Their services were held last Thursday. A Catholic funeral Mass was held for Robert Vaughn Crisp II, 59, last Friday in Mamou. The sole surviving passenger, Stephen Wade Berzas, 37, remained hospitalised in critical condition at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Centre in Lafayette.

Another person, Danielle Britt, is hospitalised at University Medical Centre in New Orleans after suffering serious burns when her vehicle flipped and caught on fire as the plane crashed to the ground.

In this December 2019 photo, Acadiana head coach speaks with Carley McCord (C), one of the victims in a deadly Louisiana plane crash. PHOTO: AP