Utah plane crashes in Texas, killing three
A plane registered to a Utah bank crashed Saturday in Texas, killing the pilot and two passengers.
Killed in the crash were passengers Michael Dale Bradley, 44, and Michael Endo, 51, both of Salt Lake City. The pilot, 49-year-old Rob Thompson, of Saratoga Springs, also died.
All three worked for Utah-based Celtic Bank.
"This is a challenging and difficult time for the entire Celtic Bank family," Reese Howell Jr., the bank's CEO and board chairman said in a statement. "We are sad and focused exclusively on providing love and support for the families and friends of those lost in the crash."
The Piper PA46 crashed about 9:35 a.m.south of County Road 13850 near Glory, a town 100 miles northeast of Dallas, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Mark Taggert said. All three men onboard died at the scene, he said.
The plane had taken off moments earlier from the Cox Field airport and was bound for Austin, FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said. The plane burst into flames upon impact, he said.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. Federal Aviation Administration officials were also on scene Saturday, Taggert said.
Its was not clear Saturday whether the pilot had radioed for assistance prior to the crash, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said. NTSB investigators were gathering evidence from the crash site, any witnesses and data radar data to determine why the plane crashed, he said.
Due the size of the plane, Holloway said it was possible the aircraft had no flight recorder.
The crash site is about 11 miles south of Cox Field. Telephone and e-mail messages left for the airfield manager, Jerry Richie were not returned.
According to a bank press release, Bradley was a real estate broker and the owner of MBA Realty and was working with Celtic on the sale of some property in Texas. Endo was the bank's senior vice president and a commercial loan officer. Thompson was a professional pilot contracted by Celtic to fly the company's plane.
A former carpenter, Thompson had been a pilot and a flight instructor for at least 20 years, his sister Marianne Watson told the Tribune on Saturday. Thompson was an active person, who enjoyed the martial arts and other forms of fitness. He left Utah for Texas on Friday, Watson said.
Thompson's wife, children, and other family members are devastated by his loss, Watson said.
"He was a very likeable person, " said Watson, who is six years older than her brother. "He made friends wherever he went."