3 dead in small plane crash near Hobby Airport

HOUSTON – Three people were killed Thursday in a small plane crash near Hobby Airport, according to the Houston Fire Department.

We have been told by friends at the family business in Oklahoma that they believe Jerry Gray, his brother Tony Gray and Tony's wife Dana Gray were all on the plane headed from Norman, Oklahoma, to Houston to visit Jerry and Tony's sick father, who is being treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The crash happened just after 1 p.m. in the 6800 block of Telephone Road near Airport Blvd. in southeast Houston. 

Air traffic control audio reviewed by Channel 2 and provided by liveatc.net reveals there was initial confusion between the tower and the pilot about the landing path and which runway to use.

  • PILOT: So am I turning a right base now, 52gulf?
  • CONTROLLER:  52gulf roger, just manuever back for the straight in, I don't know which way you're going now, so just turn back around to runway 35.
  • PILOT: Turning to 35, I'm so sorry for the confusion, 4252gulf
  • CONTROLLER:  That's OK, we'll get it.

The control tower reportedly told the aircraft it was too high to land and to go around again.

The plane was equipped with a motor to deploy a parachute. The motor did deploy near or at impact, but the parachute never did.

The wreckage will be taken to a secure storage facility in Dallas and will be examined further.

According to Federal Aviation Administration registration records, the plane is a 2012 Cirrus SR20 fixed wing, single-engine plane registered out of Oklahoma.

A witness, Nicole Andrews, told KPRC 2 that she was stopped in traffic on Telephone when she saw the plane on top of what appeared to be a black Honda Accord in the parking lot of an Ace Hardware store.

No one was inside the car, fire officials said.

Andrews said as she passed the scene she could see a body inside the plane.

“Witnesses were more shocked than anything. The alarm [in the car] was going off and there was smoke,” she said.

HFD Captain Ruy Lozano said there was no threat of a fuel spill that could cause a fire or explosion. 

All three victims died at the scene. No other injuries were reported, according to Lozano.

“We found out the impact killed all three passengers. It actually struck a vehicle. You can see [it] didn’t strike a building and there was no one in the vehicle," he said.  

Lozano said the plane was equipped with a parachute but it did not deploy.

“A lot of these aircrafts have parachutes that will deploy on impact," he said. "Well that parachute's system is still intact so we’re always worried after impact it could go off spontaneously. That’s why we asked everyone to move back”

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Stay with KPRC 2 News on air and online at Click2Houston.com for the latest updates.