Arizona Senator’s Father In Critical Condition After Deadly Plane Malfunction

August 30, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

The father of State Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-LD13), Daniel Mesnard, remains in critical condition after his twin-engine plane malfunctioned and crashed in Georgia. 

The crash paralyzed the elder Mesnard from the waist down. His passenger and longtime friend, Timothy Fiser, died from his injuries despite initial reports reflecting his condition as stable. The crashed plane was a Velocity Twin model certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last November. 

On Monday, the senator issued a statement that his father remains critically injured and in need of funding to recover the plane. Without recovering the plane, the FAA won’t be able to complete its investigation to determine the malfunction that caused the plane to crash. The senator petitioned for financial aid through GoFundMe.

“The longer the plane sits there in the marsh the more it disintegrates and the prospect of losing the data contained in the plane and engines becomes very real,” said Mesnard.

The elder Mesnard had served as a pilot for decades: 21 years as an Air Force fighter pilot, 35 years as a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines, and owner of a charter plane business for the last three years. 

According to Sen. Mesnard, his father prevented the plane from flipping by pulling a “fighter pilot manuever” to regain control, and then directed the plane to crash-land into the bank of a marsh in a tree clearing rather than the surrounding forest to avoid a potential fuel tank explosion. 

The senator also relayed that the plane ejected his father and Fisher despite both wearing seatbelts. The younger Mesnard thanked those first responders who braved the marsh to rescue his father and family friend. 

“We are so grateful for their herculean efforts to get to my dad and Tim – including wading through waist-deep mud and ignoring the prospect of snakes and alligators,” said Mesnard. 

About 15 minutes before crashing, the elder Mesnard had stopped at the Kaolin Field Airport in Sandersville, Georgia to refuel. 

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), obtained by WDRW, revealed that a Kaolin Field Airport mechanic had cleared the plane for flight a day before and the day of the crash. Also according to the report, a local police officer heard the plane “change pitch” mid-flight before “banking right” and “descend[ing] quickly.” 

As of that report obtained last week, the FAA and NTSB were going to investigate. According to Sen. Mesnard, the FAA hasn’t been able to get access to the plane due to its remote location and difficult terrain. 

The Mesnards require $23,000 to recover the plane and conduct an investigation. As of press time, the GoFundMe has raised over $14,000.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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