On Saturday morning, authorities in Mississippi, US had a major scare after a pilot who hijacked an aeroplane threatened to smash the plane into a Walmart store in the Tupelo City of Mississippi. The Tupelo police evacuated the Walmart following the threat. However, the drama ended peacefully, as informed by Governor Tate Reeves after the pilot landed the plane in a field.
The plane over North MS is down. Thankful the situation has been resolved and that no one was injured. Thank you most of all to local, state, and federal law enforcement who managed this situation with extreme professionalism.— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) September 3, 2022
Benton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to the local news that the plane landed in Ashland, in Benton County, Mississippi. The suspect is now in the custody of the Benton County Sheriff’s Department. The suspect has been identified as Cory Patterson from Shannon, Mississippi. Patterson circled in the air for around 4 hours before landing the plane. He was flying a fixed-wing multi-engine 1987 Beech C90A aircraft, believed to be stolen. He was flying alone and there was nobody else onboard the plane, confirmed FAA after the plane landed.
Update: Benton County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed to SuperTalk Mississippi that the plane landed in Ashland, Miss. The suspect is in custody.https://t.co/qeNqrOrlnm— SuperTalk Mississippi (@supertalk) September 3, 2022
Reportedly, Cory Patterson worked for a company that is contracted to maintain planes at the airport, including fueling the planes. The plane he stole was refuelled at the airport last night, and he flew with it in the early morning finding an opportunity. Authorities believe that he landed the plane because it had run out of fuel. The Beech King aircraft has a fuel tank enabling it to fly for around 5 hours.
Photographs posted on social media show that the aircraft was intact after landing.
Patterson had earlier shared a message on Facebook saying that he never wanted to hurt anyone and that he loved his family. However, later that post was deleted. A screenshot of the message is given below.
Earlier, the town of Tupelo was sent into a state of panic after the pilot hijacked an airplane and threatened to smash the plane into a Walmart store in the city. The Tupelo Police Department said the pilot contacted them at 5 a.m. and said that he is going to crash the plane into the Walmart store. The Tupelo police said that the store had been evacuated following the threat. Around five in the morning, the jet began to circle, and for more than four hours, it was in the air.
The local police warned everyone to avoid the area as the damage from any kind of crash into the Walmart store would have extended to several places in the area. Several government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, are now engaged in the inquiry and trying to determine a purpose.