Recorder Found in Texas Plane Crash; Some Victims Identified

Recorder Found in Texas Plane Crash; Some Victims Identified
NTSB and others inspect a hangar at Addison Airport in Addison, Texas on July 1, 2019. (Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer)

DALLAS—Two more of the 10 people who died when a small plane crashed into a hangar at a suburban Dallas airport have been publicly identified.

Jinky Hicks, the presiding director of Tennis Competitors of Dallas, said in an email Monday that a league director, Mary Titus, and her husband, John, were among the eight passengers killed in the fiery Sunday morning crash.

Two crew members were also killed when the Beechcraft BE-350 King Air crashed into a hangar after taking off from Addison Municipal Airport.

Hicks said five other members of the tennis organization were also on the plane, which was headed to St. Petersburg, Florida. Witnesses and authorities say the aircraft struggled to gain altitude before veering into the hangar, which isn’t far from a busy commercial strip and densely populated residential neighborhoods.

NTD Photo
The NTSB and FBI inspect a hangar at Addison Airport in Addison, Texas on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer)

Eight of the 10 people who were killed have been identified. Dallas County officials have confirmed 52-year-old Brian Mark Ellard, 58-year-old Stephen Lee Thelen, 28-year-old Matthew Palmer, 15-year-old Alice Maritato, and 13-year-old Dylan Maritato were among the dead.

NTD Photo
The NTSB and FBI inspect a hangar at Addison Airport in Addison, Texas on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer)

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas said that Ornella Ellard was also killed. She was married to Brian Ellard and was the mother of Alice and Dylan Maritato.

Federal investigators said Monday that they’ve started analyzing the cockpit voice recorder. The private plane was not required to have a flight data recorder, which tracks the performance of virtually every system on board. Nearly all off the plane was destroyed in the fire.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators will rely on physical evidence at the crash site, video, radar information, and witness accounts to determine the cause of the crash.

Mary Rosenbleeth, spokeswoman for the town of Addison, Texas, said there were no survivors of the twin-engine plane crash at the Addison Municipal Airport, a northern suburb of Dallas.

The Beechcraft BE-350 King Air hit an unoccupied hangar soon after 9 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The hangar burst into flames and black smoke billowed from the building as firefighters sprayed on water to contain the blaze. The crash left a gaping hole in the hangar.

National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chair Bruce Landsberg said there were eight passengers and two crew onboard. The identities of those killed were not immediately released. Landsberg said the tail number of the plane was still uncertain. It had been owned by a charter company in Chicago but may have recently been sold, NTSB officials said.

Small Plane Crash Dallas
Damage is seen to a hangar after a twin-engine plane crashed into the building at Addison Airport in Addison, Texas, on June 30, 2019. (Shaban Athuman/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Landsburg said the plane was headed from Texas to St. Petersburg, Florida. Edward Martelle, another official with the town of Addison, said the plane was taking off at the south end of the airport and had just lifted off the runway when it veered left, dropped its left wing and went into the hangar.

Asked if the behavior of the plane indicated engine failure, Landsberg said: “We cannot confirm that there was an engine failure at this point.”

Dallas plane crash
Damage is seen to a hangar after a twin-engine plane crashed into the building at Addison Airport in Addison, Texas, on June 30, 2019. (Shaban Athuman/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

David Snell, who was getting ready to fly from Addison with a friend Sunday morning, told KDFW TV that the plane didn’t sound right on takeoff.

“It looked like it was clearly reduced power. I didn’t know if it was on purpose or not, but then, when the plane started to veer to the left, you could tell it couldn’t climb. My friend and I looked at each other and we’re like, ‘Oh my God. They’re going to crash,’” Snell said.

Peter Drake says he saw the plane crash into the hangar.

“He got onto the runway, went down the runway, started taking off. He got to about 200 feet, and I saw him starting to lose power and his altitude, and then I see him just roll over and came straight down right into the building,” Drake said.

Dallas County was helping the city of Addison set up a family assistance center for people affected by the crash, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. The center is staffed with chaplains, counselors and other mental health and support workers, he said.

“It’s a horrible, sad, shocking thing to lose a family member like this,” Jenkins told The Associated Press. “So we’re doing whatever we can to comfort them.”

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