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Longtime FOX 8 New Orleans reporter and anchor Nancy Parker was one of two people killed Friday when a small plane crashed near the city’s Lakefront Airport, the station confirmed.
The pilot, identified by Fox 8 as Franklin J.P. Augustus, also died in the crash, which happened just after 3 p.m. The station said Parker was shooting a story in a stunt plane at the time of the accident.
Parker, 53, had worked at the station for 23 years. She is survived by her husband and three children.
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“Today we mourn the loss of our longtime colleague and friend Nancy Parker,” FOX 8 said in a Facebook post. “Details have not been released by authorities, but we can confirm she passed away in [a] plane crash while covering a story at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
“Nancy was a part of the FOX 8 family for the last 23 years,” the post continued. “She put her heart and soul into her work, covering thousands of stories and touching countless lives. She made a difference in the lives of those she reported on. She will be sorely missed, and her absence creates a void that cannot be filled.”
“Nancy was absolutely a joy to work with each and every day,” FOX 8 Vice President and General Manager Tim Ingram said. “Today we lost a wonderful journalist and remarkable friend, the New Orleans television community lost a true treasure, but beyond that, her family lost a wife, a mother and daughter. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) statement said the plane was a 1983 Pitts S-2B aircraft that crashed in an empty field about a half-mile south of the airport, which accommodates smaller aircraft, under unknown circumstances. That model aircraft is a biplane.
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New Orleans Homeland Security Director Collin Arnold told reporters the plane crashed about 3 p.m., causing a fire.
“It looks like the plane is completely charred,” said Gerald Herbert, an Associated Press photographer who also is a pilot and has a hangar at Lakefront Airport. He went to the site and described charred debris lying near a fence in a grassy field.
Fox 8 reported that the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are sending investigators to New Orleans to look into the crash.
Gayle Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints, said Parker will be “sadly missed.”
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“On behalf of my late husband Tom, to the family of WVUE-FOX 8, we offer our deepest sympathy to the tragic loss of Nancy Parker,” she said in a statement Friday night. “Nancy was an outstanding, Emmy Award-winning news anchor, who fostered great trust with both those who she covered and with her viewers in the New Orleans area.”
“Not only was she a leader in local television, she was a devoted wife to her husband Glynn and mother to their three beautiful children; Parker, Piper, and Pierce,” Benson added. “She was a dear friend and a frequent guest at local philanthropic lunches and at our family farm in Kentucky. She will be sadly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Nancy’s family.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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