This past weekend was a tragic one for civil aviation with multiple plane crashes killing 10 people in four states.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) added four more plane crash investigations to its docket after two aircraft crashed on Sunday – one in Texas and one in Indiana, and two on Saturday, in Illinois and Michigan.
Texas plane crash kills four
All four people aboard a Piper PA-46 Malibu Meridian died when the airplane crashed while attempting to make an emergency landing at Hilltop Lakes Airport between Houston and Waco Saturday morning around 10:50.
According to CNN, a Texas Department of Public Safety official said the plane was returning to Natchitoches, Louisiana, from Austin when it experienced engine trouble.
The pilot of the airplane was in radio contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) when the crash occurred, according to The Eagle of Bryan, Texas. The airplane went down in an open pasture near Hilltop Lakes Stables, killing two men and two women from Louisiana, authorities said.
A witness told Bryan, Texas’ KBTX that the plane had been flying very low to the ground and the engine stopped running once the airplane started pulling up.
“He got over the putt-putt area across from the stables. He banked left, almost overcorrected and then banked right again and then he banked left one last time, and when he did that second bank to the left he pretty much nose-dived straight vertical into the ground,” a Hilltop Lakes resident told KBTX.
Flight data shows the plane made it to 18,000 feet altitude before it descended less than an hour into the flight. The aircraft was built in 1984 and is registered to KMAC Bravo LLC in Lafayette, Louisiana, according to Flightaware.com data.
Three killed in Indiana plane crash
A 1980 Piper PA-32 that was flying around the city of Glenndale, Indiana, crashed while landing at the Glenndale Airport Saturday morning, killing the pilot and two teen brothers. A third passenger survived the crash with burn injuries.
According to FOX 59 Indianapolis, the crash killed pilot Jerral Alan Long, 63, of Kokomo and brothers Liam Patrick Kelly, 17, and Reece David Kelley, 15, of Carmel, Indiana. The brothers, along with a third teen passenger who survived the crash, were members of the “Flying Squirrels” club and took to the air before the annual Glenndale Days BBQ Bash charity event at the Glenndale Airport.
Various reports say that the airplane was approaching the airport to land when it struck a utility pole for some high-voltage power lines. A witness said the impact of the plane with the power lines created a “boom” and sent the plane into a nosedive in a cornfield. The plane caught on fire on impact and a dozen people from the airport rushed to the scene to help pull the people from the plane.
According to the Indy Star, 17-year-old Cameron Wagler was seated at the rear of the plane when it crashed. His family told FOX59 he is in stable condition and will undergo surgery for his burns. The family said that Cameron earned his pilot license about a month ago. The teens were flying enthusiasts and the Kelley brothers planned to enlist in the Air Force.
Plane crash kills Michigan couple
The Ottawa County, Michigan, Sheriff’s Office said that a plane crashed Saturday morning as it was taking off from the Ottawa Executive Airport in Zeeland, Michigan, killing two people.
Authorities said that Dale Deweese, 61, and his wife Joyce Deweese, 59, were killed in the crash. They were the only occupants of the aircraft.
The NTSB and FAA are investigating the plane crash, including reviewing the maintenance records, weather conditions, the pilot’s training, communications between the aircraft and air traffic controllers, and other records. Multiple witnesses have already provided investigators with accounts of what they saw and heard.
It could be another week before the NTSB issues a preliminary report, but local authorities said the Deweeses took off in a 2006 Byerley RV9A. Mr. Deweese had a picture of a Byerley aircraft as his Facebook profile banner. The airplane was found northeast of the runway, authorities said.
Illinois helicopter crash
A helicopter pilot died Saturday afternoon when his aircraft crashed into an EZ Self-Storage building in Red Bull, Illinois.
A witness who lives near the crash site told the Republic Times of Monroe County, Illinois, that he saw the helicopter circle around overhead before hearing a crash, followed by smoke and flames that billowed from the building.
According to an FAA crash report, the helicopter was listed as a 2002 Canadian Home Rotors Safari. The crash killed 74-year-old Welda W. DeRousse, Jr. There was nobody else aboard the two-seater aircraft when it crashed.
Mr. DeRousse reportedly owned the EX Self Storage business since 1993. He was also the former owner of DeRousse Heating and Air from 1976 to 2010, according to the Republic Times. He was an Army veteran who fought in the Vietnam War.
The NTSB and FAA are investigating the crash.
Beasley Allen lawyer Mike Andrews focuses much of his practice on aviation litigation. Mike has represented people seriously injured in a variety of plane crashes similar to the ones described in this story, and the families of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes. He currently represents families of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 victims involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.