The preliminary report of a plane crash that killed four people, including some East Texans, sheds some light on what caused the crash.
According to the report, an airport attendant warned the pilot the winds were much too strong for his single engine airplane and told him not to take off.
Four family members with ties to East Texas were killed in the crash that followed.
New Mexico State Police have identified them as 33-year-old Pilot John Verhalen III of Scottsville, Texas, his girlfriend 26-year-old Jennifer Woodward, his sister 41-year-old Sarah Verhalen and her 13-year-old daughter Chloe Jameson. All died in the crash near Angel Fire, New Mexico on Sunday afternoon. Angel Fire is located 150 miles northeast of Albuquerque.
"It's hard to take when you lose your whole family. Philip (John's father) had two children and a granddaughter and they were all in that plane so it's, I don't know how you take that," says family member Charles Reeves.
The following is the preliminary report from the NTSB:
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On March 3, 2013, about 1320 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20E, N3484X, impacted terrain after departing the Angel Fire Airport (KAXX), Angel Fire, New Mexico. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged and a post-impact fire ensued. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Verhalen Flyers LLC, Scottsville, Texas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was departing KAXX at the time of the accident and was destined to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
When the pilot arrived at the fixed base operator (FBO), an employee from the FBO questioned the pilot's intent to fly in the windy weather. The pilot indicated that he planned to fly and that the winds would not be a problem. When the pilot radioed on universal communications (UNICOM) that he was taxiing to runway 17, the current wind and altimeter were relayed to the pilot by the FBO employee, which were repeated by the pilot. Due to snow piles on the airfield, the FBO employee could not see the takeoff and next saw the airplane airborne with a significant crab angle into the wind, about 40 degrees right of the runway heading. The airplane rose and fell repeatedly as its wings rocked. Then employee saw the airplane's right wing rise rapidly. The airplane rolled left, and descended inverted with the airplane's.
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