SLIDELL -- On the night of April 19, pilots Wayne Fisher and Don Pechon were wrapping up a mosquito spray mission and had radioed the Slidell Municipal Airport they were headed in for a landing.
A preliminary crash report from National Transportation Safety Board said during the approach from the north, and shortly after that final radio communication, the plane collided with the top of two 80-foot, high-power transmission line towers. The crash site was located in a field 200 yards south of the towers.
"In a tragedy like this, you don't want to place blame on anybody," said area Councilman Val Vanney, "Everybody has to work together so that it doesn't happen again."
So Vanney started a dialogue with Airport Director Richie Artigue, who sa attempts to move the power lines farther north were actually started more than a decade ago.
"The lines, according to the FAA, and the distance from the runway, everything is legal that they have. I'm not sure it's safe," he said.
The men were pleasantly surprised to learn Cleco, one of the two companies that own the towers and lines, agreed with their effort to make a change.
"Cleco was willing, for us, to do whatever we needed to do," said Artigue, "Gotta get a hold of Entergy, talk to Entergy about it, and we need to work as a group. The city, the state, the feds, Entergy, Cleco, everybody needs to come together and make this happen."
Because the hold-up has always been, and remains to be, money. But it's not something these leaders are going to let stop them.
"My number one concern is safety," said Vanney. "We lost two lives here, it was a very bad tragedy and I don't want to see this happen again."
City leaders stress this will be a long process, centered around finding a funding source, but they're all committed to follow this effort further than it's gotten in the past.