Three people were killed in a plane crash Thursday in Coleman County, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Fred Biddle said.
The Beechcraft BE20 Super King Air "disappeared from air traffic radar shortly before 6 a.m. today while attempting to return to Abilene Regional Airport after the pilot reported an electrical problem," Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.
The FAA notified local law enforcement authorities to initiate a search, Lunsford said.
The twin turbo-prop airplane's tail number is N860J, Biddle said.
Responders on the ground reached the crash site west of Lake Coleman at about 10 a.m., Biddle said.
Accessing the plane from the ground in regular vehicles was difficult because of rough terrain and muddy roads, Biddle said.
The names of the deceased were not released pending notification of next of kin.
How the airplane was found
Callahan County Sheriff Terry Joy contacted Cedar Ridge Aviation at 7:58 a.m. to help with the search, company owner Dustin Johnson said.
The company dispatched two helicopters from its headquarters in Knox City. When they reached Lake Coleman, they radioed the FAA tower in Abilene to learn of the airplane’s last known location. Two minutes later at about 9:20 a.m. they located the crash site, Johnson said.
“It was immediately apparent that from recent rains and the remote location of the site that officials would have difficulty accessing the scene,” Johnson said.
One of the helicopters circled the scene until ground officials got there, Johnson said.
According to the website flightaware.com, a small airplane that left the Abilene Regional Airport at 5:40 a.m. ended its flight about 69 miles later in Coleman County.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, Biddle said.
“As a part of the aviation community, our thoughts and prayers are with those of the families involved,” Johnson said.