PARMER COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - Two men are dead after the small plane they were riding in crashed in to a field in Parmer County.
The plane took off from a grass airstrip on a private piece of property roughly 5 miles east of Friona.
Parmer County Sheriff Randy Geries says reports indicate the small aircraft may not have been in the air too long before it crashed.
"We believe they hadn't been flying long," said Sheriff Geries. "It was just a little bit before dusk [when they took off.] We were told they hadn't been gone that long, but then they became overdue, and after it got dark they began to worry about them.
The plane came to rest in the middle of a wheat field.
The FAA was out investigating in the early morning, tearing through every piece of this wreckage trying to piece together exactly what happened.
The top of the plane had to be weighed down by an engine and a big tire due to the heavy winds.
Reports say the plane was last spotted around 8:30 p.m.
Two hours later, a 911 call was placed, reporting the aircraft and its two passengers had gone missing.
Multiple agencies aided in the search including: the Bovina Fire Dept., the Friona Fire Dept., Friona Police Dept., Parmer County Sheriffs Office and Department of Public Safety.
"We had local fire departments, from both Bovina and Friona come in [to] assist us with the ground search," said Sheriff Geries. "We involved the Department of Public Safety, they sent officers and we also had their aircraft out of Amarillo come and help us."
Sheriff Geries credits advanced technology on a DPS helicopter for helping to locate the downed plane around 1:00 a.m.
The FAA and NTSB are still investigating what caused the crash, but both men were reportedly experienced pilots.
Sheriff Geries called the incident a tragedy.
"We have a lot of people that have small aircraft around in the area," said Geries. "We don't have this happen, its a tragedy when it does happen. We don't know what happened, but we have a couple young men that lost their lives. Our hearts go out to the family. Now it's just trying to figure out what happened so we can educate ourselves and move forward for the family."
The two passengers onboard the plane have been identified as 25 year-old Clayton Sides from Dimmitt, and 25 year-old Thomas Hefner from Bovina.
A family friend said both men were outstanding citizens and will be missed dearly.