Five Die as Medical Plane Crashes in Western Texas
Five people were killed when a medical plane carrying a patient and others crashed in western Texas on early Sunday, federal and county officials said.
The Cessna 421B aircraft took off from Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport in Alpine, a city in Brewster County, and was en-route to Midland International Airport in Midland County when it crashed just before 12.18 a.m. EDT, shortly after take-off.
“We understand that there were five people on board [and] all received fatal injuries,” said Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. “The identities of the deceased will come from the local coroner’s office.”
Cory said there was no contact with air traffic control when the airplane went down, but provided no further information.
Brewster County Sheriff Ronnie Dodson said the aircraft was a medical plane that carries patients to hospitals in the region. He said a female patient and her husband were on board the plane when it crashed on Sunday, as well as two medical crew members and a pilot.
Dodson said his office received a 911 call from a witness who saw the plane crash about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the airport. “The witness saw it topped a hill and caught fire,” he said.
The sheriff said the aircraft was fully engulfed in flames when deputies arrived on the scene. Dodson said they tried to approach to plane to see if anyone was inside, but said the heat coming from the fire was too intense.
There were several explosions at the scene after the aircraft had crashed, which may have been caused by either fuel or any oxygen tanks the aircraft may have been carrying.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, but Dodson said it did not appear to be weather-related. “The National Transportation Safety Board arrived on the scene about 30 minutes ago,” he said, while adding that Cessna investigators will also assist.
Federal records show the 1973-build aircraft was registered to Ohara Flying Service II LP in Amarillo, Texas.
Although the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation, the FAA will also conduct an investigation.
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