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2 dead in crash of small plane near Wichita

DERBY, Kan. (AP) -- Two men were killed Friday when a small Texas-bound plane crashed soon after taking off from a Kansas airport, authorities said.

The names of the victims weren't immediately released, pending notification of relatives. However, 1975 plane was registered to Dufrense Inc., whose listed agent is the wife of traveling minister Edward Dufresne. He had spoken at a church in Wichita on Thursday night, according to an itinerary posted on his website.

Sedgwick County Sheriff said the plane climbed to 16,500 feet before witnesses reported seeing a wing and other debris falling from the sky. There was no communication between the pilot and the tower before the plane disappeared from the radar about 20 miles southeast of Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport.

"There is nothing left of the plane whatsoever," Easter said. "It's a huge crater and everything is debris."

Federal Aviation spokesman Tony Molinaro said the plane, a two-engine Cessna 500, was headed to New Braunfels, Texas.

A woman who answered the phone at Dufrense's World Harvest Church in Murrieta, Calif., southeast of Los Angeles, said no information was available.

According to his website, Dufresne spoke Thursday night at the Triumphant Faith Center in Wichita. He is next stop was at Word & Spirit Church at Schertz, Texas. The Seneca and the Schertz, Texas, churches didn't immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press.

Molinaro said the FAA was sending people to the scene. He said the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation, which could take several weeks.