SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A plane carrying three Utah men crashed shortly after takeoff in Texas Saturday, killing all three aboard, authorities said.
The Piper PA-46 had taken off from an airport near Paris, Texas, around 8 a.m. when it went down.
The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the men as Michael Endo, 50, Michael Dale Bradley, 44, and the pilot Rob Thompson, 49, according to a report in the The Desert News.
All three men worked for Utah-based Celtic Bank, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
“This is a challenging and difficult time for the entire Celtic Bank family,” bank CEO Reese Howell Jr. said in a statement.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash. The Public Safety Department said it was reportedly foggy and the plane attempted to turn back toward the airport before descending rapidly and crashing.
The plane burst into flames upon impact, FAA spokesman Roland Herwig told the Tribune.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Public Safety didn’t immediately return calls f rom The Associated Press for comment.
Its was not clear if the pilot had radioed for assistance prior to the crash, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said, according to the Tribune report. NTSB investigators were gathering evidence from the crash site, any witnesses and data radar data to determine why the plane crashed, he said.
According to a bank press release, Bradley was a real estate broker working with Celtic on the sale of some property in Texas. Endo was the bank’s senior vice president and a commercial loan officer. Thompson was a professional pilot contracted by Celtic to fly the company’s plane.
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