Couple from Gardner, Kan., just married in November dies in plane crash during Branson family vacation

Dawn Curtis and Keith Curtis. Photo provided by Joyelle Low Buckley, who identifies herself as a family member.

BRANSON, Mo. — A  Gardner, Kan., couple who was recently married died in a plane crash Sunday night near Branson.

Keith Curtis, 52 and Dawn Curtis, 45, were both pronounced dead the the scene. Their plane crashed in the area of Branson West Airport after 6:30 p.m. Sunday. The plane was a 1968 Piper single engine aircraft.

“I kept hearing the plane flying around and it sounded like he was having motor problems,” Martin West told KY3 in Springfield.

“All of the sudden, the motor stopped and I heard a big boom,” neighbor Vicki Morrow reported to KY3.

According to a family member (see full message below), the Curtises were flying to Branson West to begin a four-day pre-Christmas family vacation. They were meeting their parents who are from Belton there.

Authorities do not yet know why the plane went down.

Fox 4’s Rebecca Gannon messaged the family, who released a statement about their loss:

Our hearts are clearly broken as we are all trying to process this tragedy. Dawn Mustain Curtis and Keith Curtis, Sr. Of Garner, Kansas, had just gotten married November 11, 2017 after several years of dating. They were the type of people that made you happier when you were in their presence. They loved to travel, were adventurous, and loved life, loving it all the more together. They frequently traveled to the Springfield and Branson areas via their private plane and had journeyed to Branson West yesterday to begin a four-day, pre Christmas family vacation. Their parents, Norman and Vickey Eagleton, of Belton, Missouri, arrived in Branson yesterday afternoon for that vacation and will remain here until the many details involved can be attended to properly. We would like to thank the Stone and Taney County Sheriff Departments for their compassionate, prompt communication with us, the rescue personnel who responded and the staff at Subway in Hollister, Missouri who stayed way past closing last night to accommodate us in our grief. Also, the witnesses who privately shared their accounts with us nearly immediately through the power of Facebook. Tragedies like this remind all of us that life is precious and short and should be cherished at every turn. We will get through this with the power of faith and the love of family and friends, one day at a time.

-Joyelle Low Buckley, family member

Look for more developments on Fox 4 newscasts and the Fox 4 app. Gardner, Kan., is about 15 minutes (9 miles) southwest of Olathe off I-35.