2 killed in plane crash ; Investigation ongoing
The Ellis County Press
MIDLOTHIAN - Two lives were lost during take off and landing practice at Mid-Way Regional Airport located directly off Highway 287, bordering the cities of Waxahachie and Midlothian.
At approximately 7:59 p.m. on Friday, July 30, dispatch received a call from citizens traveling Highway 287 who witnessed a plane going down killing a student and a flight instructor instantly.
Justice of the Peace Linda Sibley pronounced flight instructor Bogdan Szajer, 64, of Fort Worth and his student, Lance Dudley, 37, of Waxahachie, dead on arrival.
Szajer was reported as a very experienced pilot with more than 16,000 hours of logged airtime.
"The crash is confirmed to be east of here in a very wooded area on private property in Waxahachie city limits," said Waxahachie Public Information Officer Amy Hollywood.
The plane, a 1979 Citabria manufactured by American Champion and owned by Big Q Aviation, was reported as running smoothly earlier in the day before the crash.
"The witness claimed the plane was headed back to the airport when they noticed it go into a left turn, which steepened and the aircraft went into a 60-degree nose-down dive," said Investigator Tom Latson with the National Transportation Safety Board at a press conference held the following morning.
Since the single-engine, two-seat aircraft is more for personal and non-commercial use, the craft didn’t have a black box inside.
"A black box, which is typically a box that isn’t black, is not required to be inside such smaller aircraft but, I will be looking for a GPS unit of some sort which could give me a direction of what exactly happened," said Lawson.
The right wing was reported as twisted roughly 180 degrees to the right with the left wing showing significant damage as well.
"The crash caused serious damage, the engine is displaced inside the cabin," said Lawson.
The aircraft was shuttled to an undisclosed warehouse Saturday, July 31 for a complete and thorough investigation which could take up to a year.
"I’m going to be looking at everything to determine the cause, both man and machine," said Lawson.
"Once we are finished with the investigation, there will be a very detailed report released."
Waxahachie and Midlothian police and fire responded as well as the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office according to Sheriff Johnny Brown who responded to assist with the fatal scene.