At about 06:10 CST, a Mooney M20K struck trees shortly after departing McAlester Regional Airport, killing the pilot. The pilot was departing for Altus, Okla. The pilot was a medical doctor who operated a clinic in McAlester and was also on the emergency room staff at a hospital in Altus. While working on the ER staff, he worked a 24-hour shift two or three days per week. On the morning of the accident, the pilot left his residence between 05:15 and 05:30 to go to the airport. Witnesses heard the engine stalling and revving several times before the airplane struck trees.