Small Plane Crash in Houston Kills 6

Friday, May 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) — A twin-engine airplane stalled during takeoff and crashed Friday at Houston Hobby Airport, killing all six people on board, officials said.

The private plane was about 300 feet in the air when the engine stalled and the plane nose-dived into a grassy area next to runways just before noon, said Houston Aviation Department spokesman Ernie DeSoto.

``It was a very violent crash scene,'' said J.R. Flanagan, a Fire Department assistant chief.

All passengers — each at least 35 years old — were ejected on impact, and bodies and luggage were strewn about the wreckage, DeSoto said.

DeSoto said there was no distress call. Witnesses said the engine stalled at least twice before the plane crashed.

The 1970 Beechcraft Baron arrived from Austin, picked up at least one passenger and refueled shortly before takeoff, DeSoto said. The group was headed to Louisiana for a fishing trip.

``We will provide whatever technical assistance is needed to determine the cause of the crash,'' said Jim Gregory, director of corporate relations for Raytheon Aircraft Co., which owns Beechcraft.

He did not know if any maintenance was performed on the plane while it was being refueled.

``This aircraft has an excellent safety reputation,'' Gregory said.

Houston Hobby Airport is one of two major airports that serve the nation's fourth-largest city. Houston Intercontinental Airport is the other.

Because of the crash, no arrivals or departures were allowed for about an hour. Regular airline traffic resumed about 1 p.m., DeSoto said.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were at the scene Friday, and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were en route.