Multiple aircraft crashes claim two lives
MIDLOTHIAN- Local, state and federal officials are investigating two separate fatal aircraft accidents this week in the
The first accident involved seasoned glider Richard H. “Dick” Johnson, 84, of
TSA members lost contact with the pilot, and initiated an aerial search. Emergency workers were notified and responded to the scene at about 1:15 p.m. The search for the wreckage was hindered by the terrain, according to officials with the Department of Public Safety. The wreckage was found upright, lodged between trees, with a wing having been ripped from the aircraft.
According to reports from officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Public Safety, the aircraft involved was a 27-year-old Ventus A Model “sailplane”, manufactured by Schempp-hirth K G.
Multiple witnesses report that the aircraft dove straight into the ground, gathering speed before the impact occurred. A glider or “sailplane” relies on updrafts and currents to keep the plane airborne. A glider has no motorized engine as a backup to maintain flight.
A cause for the crash has not been identified as of Friday evening, according to state and federal officials.
An autopsy was ordered for the deceased pilot. Funeral services are pending, according to TSA’s website.
The second fatal accident occurred Thursday just after 9:00 a.m. on TXI property located in the 200 block of
This crash involved a single rear engine Cozy Classic experimental plane, piloted by off-duty American Airlines pilot James John Marshall, 58, of Grapevine.
TXI employees reported that the plane was flying low over a quarry, striking a berm near the bottom, ascending in altitude, and then hitting the side of the quarry, crashing. Upon impact the airplane broke into pieces scattered over a large area spanning some 800 yards.
No possible cause for the crash has been identified at this time.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating both accidents.
Preliminary reports and causes for each crash will be issued in the coming weeks, with a final report on each crash due within the next year or so by the NTSB and FAA.