BY THOMAS KIKA
A passenger aircraft carrying 21 people crashed Tuesday, hitting the ground near an airport less than 40 miles west of Houston. Despite the crash and subsequent fire, however, authorities reported that none of the passengers or three crew members on board the craft sustained any serious injuries.
“WCOEM & WCSO are responding to a plane crash at Houston Executive Airport involving an MD-80 aircraft that was taking off from the Airport heading north,” the Waller County Office of Emergency Management tweeted. “Early reports indicate that all 19 passengers and crew safely exited the aircraft with a report of 1 injury. AVOID THE AREA.”
KHOU 11 reported that only one person was taken to the hospital for a minor back injury. Their identity has not been released to the public.
The lack of death or injuries from the crash is all the more astonishing given the photos that have emerged and been shared on social media.
KHOU 11 posted a video on YouTube. In it, the wreckage of the plane can be seen, belching out thick black smoke as swarms of first responders work to get the flames under control.
The National Transportation Safety Board is currently leading the investigation into the crash with help from the FAA.
The FAA later confirmed several details about the crash. The plane, a McDonell-Douglas MD-80, reportedly rolled through a fence while attempting to take off from Houston Executive Airport and caught fire a little after 10 a.m. local time.
KHOU 11 tweeted that the craft was bound for Boston, with its passengers planning to attend an upcoming America League Championship Series game between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.
“The information we have at this time indicates that the plane did not attain altitude at the end of the runway and went across Morton Road, coming to a rest in the field just north of the airport, where it caught on fire,” Waller County Judge Trey Duhon said in a Facebook post.
The craft was found to be registered in the name of J. Alan Kent, a local businessman and owner of Flair Builders, a custom home building company based in Houston. Flair Builders confirmed to ABC 13 that Kent was one of the passengers on the plane when it crashed.
CenterPoint Energy reported that the crash caused a power outage for around 1,800 customers. The outage stemmed from a set of powerlines that the plane took out while attempting to take off. It is not clear at this time whether or not the powerlines contributed to the crash.