By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are still investigating a single-engine plane crash that occurred Saturday morning half a mile east of Van Zandt County Road 2702 near Mabank.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Odie Phillips said the Beachcraft Bonanza single-engine plane went down sometime Saturday after 9:44 a.m. killing the four people aboard.
A 60-year-old Southlake dentist, Dr. Leonard Joseph Ledet, his sons, 13-year-old Mason and 17-year-old Paul; and co-pilot and brother, 62-year-old Gregory Mason Ledet of Keller were pronounced dead at the scene by Van Zandt County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell.
The teenagers attended Carroll Middle School and Carroll Senior High School in Southlake.
Phillips said the plane, which was owned by the pilot, took off from Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke on the way to Oxford, Miss., to see the Texas A&M at Ole Miss football game.
“They were in contact with the Alliance tower (just south of Northwest Regional Airport) and did a weather check,” Phillips said. “They decided to go back to Terrell due to weather, and turned northwest at FM 1651 and 47 near the community of Jackson at 3,000 feet. During the turn they dropped off the radar.
“All communication with the plane was lost at 9:44 a.m., according to reports,” Phillips added.
He said the Civil Air Patrol was called out and law enforcement was notified. Then at 4:45 p.m., the Department of Public Safety (DPS) was notified of a possible plane crash in the area.
The DPS Helicopter Air 1 was called in to begin an air search and at around 8:30 p.m., the crash site was located off Van Zandt County Road 2702, half a mile from Farm-to-Market 90.
Phillips said the debris field was at least 100 yards as emergency personnel investigated the site.
Upon speaking to residents near the area, Phillips said, “Several people said they did hear a sound and a big boom. One guy said he saw a plane appear to be going nose down, and then someone said they heard an airplane and a boom.”
The weather Saturday was cloudy for most of the day with low clouds; however Phillips said it was clear enough for their DPS helicopter to get in the air.
Phillips said the crash site was secured by DPS along with the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s office and the Mabank Fire Department until FAA and NTSB officials arrived to begin their investigation which continues.
The NTSB is serving as lead investigators on the scene. The cause of the crash is still unknown.