A single-engine plane crashed in central Texas last night, killing the pilot, his wife and two children from Georgia, and his brother. It is the third plane crash claiming lives in the U.S. in the past 24 hours, the most broadcast of which was a New Jersey explosion on Interstate 287.
The Piper Saratoga aircraft, which took off from Atlanta, Ga. and was headed to Waco, Texas, crashed just before 10pm in a farming and ranching community in northeast Brazos Country, Texas Department of Public Safety spokeman Tom Vinger said.
Vinger identified the victims as Michael Butler, 33; his wife Kelly, 34; their daughter Brooke, 14 (not 13 as originally reported); their son Braden, 2; and Michael's brother David, 37.The Butlers were from Stockbridge, Ga. David was from Mount Clam, Texas.
Butler radioed the tower in Waco shortly before crashing.
Weather to Blame?
Butler's plane had yet to begin into descent into Waco, Texas when the crash occured, and the family stopped in Jackson, Miss. for supplies. It's unclear what caused the crash that killed all five passengers, but it's possible that weather was to blame.
Although Vinger said he could confirm or deny that weather had played a part in the Texas plane crash, the Butler family traveled through areas thick with rain and lightening storms just before the crash took place.
Heavy snow fell Monday in parts of northwest Texas. The crash itself, however, occured hundreds of miles away from the most severe areas of heavy snow and strong winds.
Third Plane Crash in 24 Hours
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were at the crash site earlier today. They flew over the area in a helicopter, following a similar flight pattern to the plane that crashed.
From there, you can see a whole lot more than you can see from down here, Department of Public Safety Cpl. Jimmy Morgan told The Wall Street Journal. Maybe you can see something we don't.
Another Texas plane crash occured early this morning in Denton near the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, killing one and leaving two survivors. In New Jersey, a plane crash on Interstate 287 near Harding claimed another family of four and one other passenger when the aircraft spiraled out of control and exploding on the highway.
Below, watch video footage of investigators at the Texas plane crash.