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Two reported dead in rural plane crash

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Calls rang out throughout Caldwell and Travis Counties late Monday morning as Mendoza residents saw an aircraft plummet from the sky and crash in a field in northern Caldwell County.

The aircraft, a six-seat Piper Turbo-Prop, was thought to be on final approach into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport when the Bergst

rom tower lost contact with the pilot at around 11:37 a.m. The crash site is about seven miles south of the airport.

Witnesses at the scene suggest that at least two individuals were killed in the crash. Although first-responders initially asked for assistance from Star Flight, the helicopter was later canceled as medical personnel surveyed the scene and made said the passengers were “obviously “DOS” (deceased on the scene).”

The plane was registered to Kent W. Riley in Hobbs, N.M., but initial reports were uncertain whether Riley was the pilot at the time of the crash. Officials suggested remains of one adult male and one male youth or teenager were found among the debris field.

Calls to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport were referred to Travis County for additional information. However, reports from other news agencies suggest the plane may have been traveling from Rockport to Austin.

**** UPDATED AT 2:15 P.M., MONDAY, DEC. 7, 2009****

Additional information gathered from sources in Hobbs, N.M., report that the craft’s owner, Kent W. Riley, was a resident of South Texas. Information also surfaced the plan may have departed from the Aransas County Airport in Rockport, Texas, this morning en route to Austin.

Pending notification of the next of kin, Aransas County Airport Manager Eugene Johnson declined to provide specific information regarding the craft, its owner or occupants.

Johnson said, however, that Riley’s hangar was open this morning, and that there was one departure from the airport. Everything was normal with that departure, he said, and no trouble was reported.

Johnson added he heard only anecdotal information about the identity of the pilot and passenger(s), if any. He did say, however, if the pilot was “who I think it is, he would have had no problems with that plane,” unless weather or craft failure was involved.

He said Riley owned two crafts, both of which were hangared in Rockport. He reiterated, though, he could not confirm whether Riley or another pilot was flying the plane when it departed Rockport this morning, nor who else might have been aboard.

Stay tuned to post-register.com for the latest information on this breaking story.

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