Federal authorities say a small plane went into a vertical, nose-first dive before crashing in northwest Missouri.

Preliminary findings from the National Transportation Safety Board show there was no recorded communication between air traffic control operators and the pilot, 54-year-old Kenny Stoner of Ridgeway. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that Stoner died in the crash.

The NTSB says the pilot didn't file a fight plan, but the airplane, a Cessna 182C, was believed to be flying from Northwest Missouri Regional Airport in Maryville to an airport Bethany. An alert was issued shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday when the plane failed to arrive in Bethany. The wreckage was found Tuesday morning in a wooded area north of Pattonsburg.

The pilot had just completed an annual inspection of the plane.

Aaron Kohr