Four people died in the crash of small plane that disappeared after departing from a regional airport near Roanoke, Texas on Saturday.
A Texas Department of Safety helicopter located the downed Beechcraft Bonanza late Saturday night in Van Zandt County.
"The plane is completely destroyed," said Ronnie Daniell, Van Zandt Justice of the Peace. "It's just torn to pieces, pretty much, over a wide debris area."
The dead were aboard the aircraft, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Their names have not been released.
FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the Mississippi-bound aircraft took off Saturday morning from Northwest Regional Airport at about 9:40 a.m.
A search started after air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the plane 25 miles southeast of Terrell in Kaufman County.
A graphic from Flight Aware shows the plane had a smooth takeoff headed southeast. Then, over the Terrell airport, it suddenly started an erratic route and stayed in the air for three and a half hours before crashing.
Federal regulators were scheduled to arrive at the crash site Sunday afternoon to begin their investigation.
The tail number of the single-engine plane belongs to Palm-L Aviation LLC. The FAA said the plane was built in 1985.
This is the second fatal crash in two weeks involving a plane that departed the Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke.
A pilot and flight instructor died September 23 shortly after takeoff. The cause of that crash is still under investigation.
More content from NBCNews.com:
- Video: School dinner is keeping some US children from going hungry
- How Border Patrol 'friendly fire' incident unfolded
- Plot to bomb 48 Okla. churches uncovered, police say
- Abu Hamza, 4 others tied to al-Qaida arrive in US to face terrorism charges
- Toddler's remains found buried in Long Island backyard
- Video: Rare spider creates web of controversy