Federal Investigators Look at Fatal Texas Plane Crash

Golfers were knocking their way around a tournament at The Hills Country Club just before noon when they saw a plane struggling to gain altitude after taking off.


LAKEWAY, Texas (AP) -- Golfers were knocking their way around a tournament at The Hills Country Club just before noon when they saw a plane struggling to gain altitude after taking off.

It plummeted to the ground Tuesday and smashed into a luxury home behind the No. 11 green.

The crash killed six people, including two children, their parents, the pilot and another person, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman John Clabes. Three people inside the home escaped unharmed.

``Things like this happen so fast. ... You look up and you can tell it's way too low for a normal takeoff from the Lakeway airport and it was going way too slow,'' said Bert Brown, a retired American Airlines pilot who was golfing with a friend when the plane crashed.

``Oh my God, it was devastating, to actually see it happen and know that there probably would not be a survivor,'' he said.

The TF60 Smith Aerostar, a twin-engine propeller plane, had stopped at Lakeway Airpark for about an hour and refueled, said Leah Yeager, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator.

Relatives of the family aboard the plane watched the takeoff and saw the crash, Clabes said. The house where the plane crashed is less than two miles from the airport.

The NTSB expects to issue a preliminary report on the crash by next week, but it may be several months before investigators officially determine its cause, Yeager said. The plane was not required to have a flight data recorder and did not have one, and investigators do not know of any distress call by the pilot.

A business associate said the victims were Curtis Treadwell, his wife Jennifer, their two young children and Jason Jones. Curtis Treadwell owned Monarch Homes in Oklahoma City, and Jones owned Broadway Homes in Edmond, Okla.

The Oklahoman newspaper identified the pilot as Richard Fisher, 36, the owner of Oklahoma City-based Aviation Flight Specialists.

Laurence and Jacqueline Elliott, along with an appliance repairman, escaped from the two-story Mediterranean-style house just as the crash occurred, said Ellen Roberts, a friend of the Elliotts. Jacqueline Elliott and the repairman were in the kitchen about 30 feet from where the plane crashed.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said she didn't know where the flight originated, but witnesses at the airport said it was headed to Oklahoma City.

All six bodies had been recovered from the crash site by Tuesday evening, authorities said.

Associated Press writer Liz Austin in Dallas contributed to this report.