Witness describes deadly Texas plane crash; ‘I’ve never seen anything like that’

Federal investigators recovered the cockpit voice recorder from a small plane that crashed into a hangar shortly after take-off from an airport north of Dallas on Sunday, killing all 10 people on board.

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The recorder was sent back to Washington for analysis, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said during a press conference Monday.

It could take up to two weeks before a preliminary report on the crash is completed. Security video at the airport also recorded the entire incident, but investigators aren’t releasing that video  at this time.

Update 8:00 p.m. EDT July 1: Investigators with the NTSB revealed more information Monday about the plane crash Sunday in Addison, Texas, and they said they talked with witnesses who saw it.

The agency’s Chairman Bruce Landsberg and lead investigator Dr. Jennifer Rodi said the twin engine Beechcraft BE 350 Super King jet’s landing gear was down when it crashed into a hangar.

“The airplane was airborne, so the airplane veered to the left, started to roll to the left, rolling when it collided with the hangar,” Landsberg said.

The entire plane crashed into the building, Rodi said, so it didn’t come apart in the air.

The hangar’s sprinkler system also helped put out the flames from the burning wreckage, they said.

Investigators said they spoke with several witnesses to the crash who said the plane reached about 300 feet before it started loosing altitude.

"Myself and my other pilot friend, we knew that the plane was not producing the type of takeoff power that it typically would by the sound, plus it wasn't climbing the way it typically would and it appeared a little tail low and we knew that airplane was in trouble," local pilot David Snell, who saw the crash, told KXAS-TV.

“My friend and I have flown for a long time,” Snell said. “We both knew that the sound that we were hearing out of that King Air was not correct.”

Snell said it looked like the plane stalled and veered to its left. “... when that happens at a low altitude it's impossible to recover,” he said.

“All my years of flying I've never seen anything like that. But my thoughts are for the families, the people, the lives changed and there's nothing you can do about it,” he said.

Update 3:40 p.m. EDT July 1: In a letter to students, officials with John Paul II High School in Plano identified a family of four killed in Sunday's crash, KXAS-TV reported.

School officials said students Alice and Dylan Maritato were killed in the crash, according to KXAS-TV. Also killed were their mother, Ornella Ellard, and their stepfather, Brian Ellard, the news station reported.

Alice was expected to graduate from John Paul II High School in 2022 and Dylan was expected to finish the eighth grade at All Saints Catholic School in 2020, according to KXAS-TV. Ornella Ellard worked as an interior designer while Brian Ellard owned an art gallery and an upscale Italian restaurant in Dallas, Mille Lire, the Dallas Morning News reported.

In an email to employees, officials with the real estate company JLL identified Steve Thelen and his wife, Gina, as victims of Sunday's crash, according to the Morning News.

"Steve was among the best of us — a leader, partner and friend," company officials said in the email, according to the Morning News. "Our thoughts are with his son, Kyle, and daughter, Christy, during this difficult time. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers."

Officials have not publicly identified any of the victims. Investigators said Sunday night that two crew members and eight passengers died in the crash. Authorities with the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to provide an update on their investigation at a news conference scheduled to start at 4 p.m. local time.

Update 1:39 a.m. July 1: The Beechcraft BE-350 King Air plane was scheduled to leave the Addison Municipal Airport at 9:21 a.m. and was supposed to arrive at the Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, Florida, at 1:18 a.m., the Tampa Bay Times reported.


According to Flight Aware, an online flight tracking service, the plane's tail number was N534FF, the newspaper reported. However, the National Transportation Safety Board officials said Sunday night they could not confirm a tail number on the plane because it recently changed ownership, WFAA reported.

Original report: A twin-engine plane struck an unoccupied hangar at Addison Municipal Airport around 9 a.m., then caught on fire, killing all 10 people on board, airport officials told The Associated Press.

Officials have not released the victim's names. Investigators are still working to notify the victims' family.

The Beechcraft BE-350 King Air plane was destroyed in the flames. Its tail number has not yet been released.

The Federal Aviation Administration as well as the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

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