This was tragic, but we were lucky it wasn't much much worse! An airplane crashing at high speed into an elderly housing complex has catastrophe written all over it. -46

Five Die When Plane Crashes Near Texas Apartment Complex


T.A. BADGER
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) -- Five people were killed when a small airplane crashed in bad weather near an apartment complex for seniors, authorities said. There were no survivors aboard the plane.

The victims included the pilot and a pair of fathers traveling with their sons, said John Clabes, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft was trying to make an instrument landing in rainy conditions with poor visibility Sunday.

The Piper Navajo owned by Dash Air Charter Inc. of San Antonio was on approach to San Antonio International Airport Sunday afternoon, said Clabes. The pilot had filed a flight plan in Dodge City, Kan., Clabes said.

The pilot was off course on his approach and was swinging around to try again when the plane crashed. ``He pulled out of the approach and disappeared off our radar,'' Clabes said.

The crash site is in a thickly populated residential and commercial area about six miles northwest of downtown San Antonio. The plane, which can seat as many as eight people, crashed about three miles from the airport and just off a busy city street.

``It looks like it clipped a tree, clipped the apartment and went into the ground,'' said Joe Rios, a spokesman for San Antonio police. He said there was a small explosion after the crash.

Rios part of the 34-foot-long (10.4 meter-long) plane was buried in the ground at the housing complex. One wing disintegrated on impact, he said, while the other was embedded in the wall of an apartment.

A woman was in that apartment at the time, but she was not hurt.

David Herrmann, vice president of the company that owns the plane, told the San Antonio Express-News that the group was returning from a pheasant hunting trip in Kansas.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board were scheduled to arrive Monday to investigate.

No one on the ground was hit by the wreckage, although ``good-sized pieces'' of the plane were on the floor of the woman's apartment, District Fire Chief Randy Jenkins said.

In Tunica, Mississippi, authorities said a couple and their granddaughter were killed Sunday when their Piper PA-28 airplane crashed en route to Illinois in a rural area of northwest Mississippi.

Felik E. Nylec, 64, and his wife, Mary Nylec, had flown to Louisiana to visit their daughter and were on their way back to Illinois when the plane went down at about 12:20 p.m., said Randy Stewart, an assistant chief at the Tunica County Sheriff's Department.

Also on board the plane was 9-year-old Emily Nylec, the couple's granddaughter, Stewart said. The couple was from Mokena, Illinois.

``Several of the witnesses said they heard a loud noise and the airplane just plummeted,'' Stewart said.

The plane crashed near the small community of Dubbs about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Tunica.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.


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