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Mesa Airlines pilot killed in Texas cargo plane crash

(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX – A pilot for a Phoenix-area airline has died in a plane crash in Texas, a company official said.

Mesa Airlines said in a statement late Sunday that one of its employees, Capt. Sean Archuleta, was aboard the cargo plane that went down into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, on Saturday.

Archuleta had been a pilot for Mesa, a regional carrier that operates as American Eagle and United Express, since 2013.

“This is a sad day for the entire Mesa Family as we mourn the loss of Captain Sean Archuleta,” airline Chairman-CEO Jonathan Ornstein said in a statement.

“This is a loss for all of aviation.”

Capt. Nick Toon, of Waddell, worked with Archuleta. He posted to social media that his friend was a few flights away from joining United Airlines.

Archuleta was married and the father of two, Toon said.

A GoFundMe account for the family amassed more than $100,000 in one day.

Two others also were killed on Flight 3591, according to the plane’s owner, Atlas Air.

The plane was part of Amazon Prime Air Fleet and was on the way from Miami to Houston.

Witnesses told investigators the plane went into bay “nose first.” The trail of debris stretched for a half-mile.

Traffic controllers said they hadn’t received a distress signal from the twin-engine Boeing 767.

Crews continued to search for the third body at Trinity Bay, about 35 miles east of Houston, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said at a Sunday afternoon news conference.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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