NAVASOTA, Texas – Two adults and two children were killed in a plane crash near Navasota Municipal Airport, according to the Grimes County Sheriff's Office.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Cirrus SR-20 aircraft was spotted in the trees around 9:20 a.m. Sunday by the pilot of another aircraft. The pilot called authorities.
Investigators say it appears it was a hard landing in a wooded area about half a mile from the airport's landing strip.
The student on board the plane was Amjad Sultan, 53.
“He started screaming and yelling that, 'Before I die, I want to buy a plane and I want to fly the plane before I die,'” said Sultan's brother Jeff Akhtar. “Last month, he bought it. This month he died.”
Akhtar said Sultan was learning to fly when his Cirrus SR-20 crashed. Sultan, his girlfriend's two daughters and a flying instructor died. The pilot has been identified as Russell Reina, 67. The children were Jessica Argueta (on left in photo), 11, and Erika Ayala-Argueta, 7 (on right in photo).
At 67 years old, Reina had a passion for life. His son Brian says he was born to be in the sky.
"That was his craft, it was what he was best at. Flying a plane." Brian Reina said.
Another pilot spotted the wreckage in a wooded area about a half a mile from the runway and called for help.
“The only eye witnesses we have would be after the fact. He had a student pilot with him and they were to land at the Navasota airport,” said Grimes County Sheriff Donald Sowell.
A father of four, Sultan was born in Pakistan, but lived in the United States for 30 years. His brother said he worked hard, owning several businesses and helped others.
“He was the American dream,” said Akhtar. “We lost him, but we also lost somebody who probably had children, as well. Tragedy for our country. Tragedy for people in the community. It's so sad. I wish we could've done something about it.”
The pilot's family doesn't know any of the passengers that were on board.
The FAA said the aircraft originally departed from David Wayne Hooks Airport in Houston at 8:17 a.m., but are not sure when the airplane crashed.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.