Plane Was Sold Months Before It Crashed in Texas, Killing 10
By JAKE BLEIBERG and JAMIE STENGLE Associated Press
DALLAS (AP) — Officials have not yet released the identities of the 10 people killed when a small plane crashed at a suburban Dallas airport, but the aircraft's former owner said Monday that he sold it earlier this year to a Texas-based company.
No information has been released to explain why the Beechcraft BE-350 King Air crashed into a hangar and burst into flames Sunday morning after taking off from Addison Municipal Airport. Officials have said two crew members and eight passengers were killed.
The plane was scheduled to fly to St. Petersburg, Florida. Witnesses and local authorities said the aircraft struggled to gain altitude then veered into the hangar not far from a busy commercial strip and densely populated residential neighborhoods.
Todd DeSimone, the general manager of Chicago-based jet charter company Planemasters, said Monday that he sold the plane to a company based in Addison called EE Operations.
No one has responded to a message left at a phone number associated with EE Operations.
The company's agent in Delaware, where EE Operations is registered, said it would forward a request for comment.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said Monday that the twin-engine plane's tail number, N511EF, was registered in April. The FAA registry confirmed that the plane was registered to EE Operations.
Lunsford said Monday that the pilots on Sunday used the plane's previous tail number in radio communications and for the flight plan, and that questions about why they were using the old number would be addressed in the investigation.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to investigate at the airport north of Dallas, and officials said during a Sunday evening news conference that it was too early to determine what caused the crash. Another news conference is set for late Monday afternoon.
Edward Martelle, a spokesman for 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.
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.
Air traffic control tower audio from around the time of the crash does not capture any pilot indicating an emergency or trouble with a plane. But pilots waiting to take off soon thereafter can be heard seeking updates and being told repeatedly to wait.
Associated Press reporters David Warren and David Koenig contributed to this report.