Small plane crashes near Hobby Airport killing all 3 on board
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - "It had departed from the Norman Oklahoma airport in route to Hobby Airport", said Tom Latson with NTSB.
The single engine Cirrus SR 22 aircraft had three people on board identified by the Moore Oklahoma Police Department as Tony Gray, his wife Dana, and Tony's brother Jerry.
The plane police say belonged to Dana Gray and she was flying it at the time.
The plane was approaching Hobby from the north when federal officials say the air traffic controller directed the pilot to go around saying the plane was too high to land.
"On the second approach they were also too high," Latson said.
The air traffic controller ordered the pilot to go around a third time NTSB officials said.
On the third attempt, NTSB officials say the plane crashed nose first in the parking lot of an Ace Hardware store crushing an employees car who was inside at the time.
"The plane just pretty much fell out of the sky," said eyewitness Kendrick Mickens. Mickens and Michael Bass were in the store parking lot when the plane came down. "By the time we got to the store parts were flying this way and the plane was on the car."
"Anytime you leave you never know what's going to happen the next day you never know," Bass said.
The small plane is equipped with a ballistic recovery parachute that has a rocket motor.
"Unfortunately it appears that the rocket motor deployed either immediately before or just after impact," Latson said.
NTSB officials say the parachute did not deploy. The question now, did the plane stall?
"The aircraft impacted the ground at a very steep angle of impact," said Latson. "That is likely the case, yes."
As dusk chased away daylight, people gathered at the store parking lot to put flowers on the twisted wreckage.
With the plane barely missing power lines, the hardware store, and two propane tanks, as bad as it is, it could have been so much worse.
"We were very lucky," a nearby business owner said referring to the plane's close proximity to the highly flammable tanks.
The wreckage is expected to be removed from the store parking lot sometime Friday afternoon, and will be moved to Dallas for further investigation.
Tony Gray was a race car driver who owned his own race team as well as a roofing company.
According to Facebook posts, the three were coming to Houston to visit Tony's parents at M.D. Anderson Hospital.