Pilot was having trouble before crash that killed news anchor

Witnesses say nose of plane was pointed down

By Steve Almasy, CNN
WVUE

Veteran journalist Nancy Parker died in a plane crash while working on a story in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) - The pilot of a stunt plane that crashed, killing a popular New Orleans anchor, radioed the tower that he was having unspecified problems with the aircraft shortly after takeoff, the National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday.

The pilot, who also died in the crash Friday, was cleared to return to the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans when witnesses said it appeared the plane had engine problems. The nose of the plane pointed down and the aircraft crashed, the NTSB reported witnesses saying.

Most of the aircraft was destroyed by fire, the NTSB said.

Nancy Parker was shooting a story in a stunt plane, her employer WVUE, a CNN affiliate, reported when the crash happened in a field.

"Nancy was a part of the Fox 8 family for the last 23 years. She put her heart and soul into her work, covering thousands of stories and touching countless lives," Vice President and General Manager Tim Ingram said. "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."

Parker, 53, is survived by her husband and three children, according to the station.

In a statement posted on Twitter, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell identified the pilot as Franklin Augustus. She described Augustus and Parker as "one-of-a-kind individuals."

Parker's husband, Glynn Boyd, wrote Saturday on Facebook that the "dearest and most wonderful person in my life is gone."

"Our Nancy was an amazing human being," Boyd, a former television journalist, wrote. "I was so proud of her; first as an awesome mother of our three children, just incredible. She loved them so much. This is why this is so difficult to comprehend. And she was a true professional, a master of her craft. She had so much to give."

In the post with a photo of Parker he added, "So smart, so talented, she was my everything.. I just don't know. I really don't. No man, but God could've taken Nancy from my arms. I loved her and she loved me. We were best friends. I would trade places with her right now. I should've been on that plane. She was our road map, our compass, our guiding light. I'm lost without my wife."

Cantrell said Augustus wanted to become a pilot after a conversation he had as a high school senior with a Delta Air Lines pilot. He worked with young people, she said, passing along his love for flying and trying to combat drug use.

CNN's Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.