Sunday, 6 January 2013

Plane Crash Kills Family

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Plane Crash Kills Family, Four members of a Southlake family died in the crash of small plane in Van Zandt County on Saturday.

The plane departed Saturday from a regional airport near Roanoke.

Leonard Ledet, his brother Greg and his sons Paul and Mason died in the crash.

Fraternity brothers of Leonard and Greg Ledet said the family was headed to a Mississippi and Texas A&M game. Friends said the brothers had attended Texas A&M.

Paul Ledet, a junior at Southlake Carroll High School, worked part-time at Urban Air, a trampoline park in Southlake.

Caleb Hailey, a co-worker, said the teen was a pleasure to be around.

“He was working the front desk where all the customers could see him," he said. "We wanted him there because he brought joy to the park."

Co-workers came to the park throughout the day.

“It hurts; everybody hurts," Hailey said. "I can just speak for us at Urban Air -- it’s very hard for us to get through this right now."

On Sunday night, the Carroll Independent School District tweeted: “Our hearts are heavy tonight as we embrace and lift up the Ledet family and our already grieving community.”

A Texas Department of Safety helicopter located the downed Beechcraft Bonanza late Saturday night near County Road 2702 and Farm-to-Market 90.

"The plane is completely destroyed," Van Zandt Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell said. "It's just torn to pieces, pretty much, over a wide debris area."

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the Mississippi-bound aircraft took off Saturday morning from Northwest Regional Airport at about 9:40 a.m.

A search was begun after air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the plane 25 miles southeast of Terrell in Kaufman County.

A graphic from Flight Aware shows the plane had a smooth takeoff headed southeast. Then, over the Terrell airport, it suddenly started an erratic route and stayed in the air for three and a half hours before crashing.

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the pilot diverted the plane to Terrell because of bad weather.

Jim Whittle, a pilot who was at Northwest Regional Airport on Sunday.

"Weather can change dramatically very fast," said Whittle, who has been flying for 40 years. "I was going from Waco back to Oklahoma a couple of years ago and encountered ice. In a single-engine airplane, you don't want to encounter ice."

Whittle said he met one of the victims at the airport a year or two ago.

"Evidently, he felt the risk was minimal or he wouldn't have taken that chance," he said.

Dozens of people sent condolences to the victims' families on Twitter on Sunday.

FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigators have arrived at the crash site to begin their investigation.

The tail number of the single-engine plane belongs to Southlake-based Palm-L Aviation LLC. The FAA said the plane was built in 1985.

This is the second fatal crash in two weeks involving a plane that departed the Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke.

A pilot and flight instructor died Sept. 23 shortly after takeoff. The cause of that crash is still under investigation.
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