Texas plane crash kills Broken Arrow man
BY AMANDA BLAND World Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
11/28/12 at 7:58 AM
A plane en route from Houston to Tulsa crashed Monday night in east-central Texas, killing a Broken Arrow man.
John Thomas "Tom" Steeper, 64, died in the crash, a family member said.
Authorities in Cherokee County, Texas, began receiving numerous calls about "a bright fireball falling" from the sky, accompanied by the sound of an airplane engine, at 9:22 p.m., dispatchers said.
Search and rescue crews located the wreckage of a twin-engine Cessna 421 in a rural area of Angelina County late Monday, according to county dispatchers and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The crash site is about 140 miles north of Houston.
Steeper reportedly was killed when the plane crashed and exploded on impact during a thunderstorm west of Wells, Texas, the Lufkin News reported.
Air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the plane as it was maneuvering to avoid the bad weather, FAA spokesman Lynn Luns ford said in a news release.
An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board was expected to begin the on-scene phase of the agency's investigation Tuesday, an NTSB spokesman said.
The board will release its preliminary findings in about 10 days and a final report in approximately 12 months.
The plane is registered to H-S Air LP in Broken Arrow.
Flight Aware, a public live flight-tracking website, indicates that the flight left Houston at 8:41 p.m. with an expected flight time of two hours.
The plane had flown to Houston from Tulsa's Jones Riverside Airport on Friday, the website shows.
A round-trip flight between Tulsa and Houston also was made earlier this month.
Dan Howard owns the airplane hangar next to Steeper's. The men have been acquainted for about 10 years, he said.
Steeper, an engineer, traveled to Texas several times a year for business and had been traveling more frequently in recent months, Howard said.
"It's just really sad to see this happen," he said. "My thoughts and prayers are with the family."
Steeper was the CEO of Engineering & Consulting Services Inc. in Broken Arrow, according to an employee at the business. The business offers engineering consulting services in a variety of areas, including automotive, oil and gas, aviation, petrochemical, pipeline, refineries and power generation.
"He was tremendously well-respected," said Steeper's brother-in-law Steve Bradshaw. "He was a family man and very successful in business."
Steeper had 25 years of flying experience, Bradshaw said, adding that "we are all working on gathering information about what happened."
Original Print Headline: BA man dies in Texas plane crash
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413
Texas State Troopers Cody Sheperd (left) and David Hendry examine the smoky remains of a twin-engine Cessna 421 that crashed Monday night in a rural area in east-central Texas. The pilot, John Thomas "Tom" Steeper, 64, of Broken Arrow, died in the crash. ANDY ADAMS/Associated Press