DETROIT – A Houston-area business owner and his wife were killed and his son was critically injured when their small plane crashed in Detroit Sunday evening.
The people who were killed in the crash were identified as Greg Boaz, 54, and his wife Julie, 48. Greg Boaz's 17-year-old son is recovering from smoke in his lungs and burns on his back and hands according to family.
They were on their way to watch Greg’s daughter compete in a volleyball competition.
“It doesn’t seem real, it’s hard to take in,” said Danny Boaz Sr., Greg’s nephew. “It’s just real hard on everybody.”
The plane, which flew out of Texas, was carrying a local family from the Houston area. According to news reports, the Cessna 210 plane was scheduled to stop in Memphis before heading to Detroit.
Officials said the plane left West Memphis, Arkansas, just before 4 p.m.
Air Safety investigator Andrew Todd Fox with the NTSB said in a news conference Monday that the flight seemed routine and the pilot was in contact with the air traffic control the entire time.
As the plane entered the Detroit area, the pilot requested and was granted landing clearance, Fox said. Shortly after begin given clearance, the pilot reported a problem with the landing gear, Fox said. The air traffic control operator offered the pilot to fly by the tower and the operator confirmed the landing gear did not deploy, according to Fox.
Soon after, in the last call to air traffic control, the pilot reported that he was low on fuel.
Around 8 p.m., the plane crashed into a tree, flipped and caught on fire. Officials said a 54- and 48-year-old woman were killed. A 17-year-old boy survived the crash thanks to a witness who said he heard the crash, found the plane in an empty lot and helped the boy from the wreckage, police said.
The teen was taken to a Detroit hospital in critical condition.
“I just thought it was a miracle that he got out. I mean he’s got smoke in his lungs, and I think he’s burned a little bit on his back and the back of his hands, think it’s third-degree burns but he’s lucky to be alive,” explained Boaz Sr.
The teen’s mother is currently with him at the hospital. She and her daughter took a commercial plane to Detroit.
The crash remains under investigation.
According to a Facebook post by the Lone Star Grill, Greg Boaz owned the Bacliff restaurant. The message said that the restaurant would be closed Monday because of the owner's death, but would reopen on Tuesday.
Greg Boaz also owned the Palapa's Bar in Kemah.
“It’s hard to lose a pillar of your community,” said Walter Wilson, the general manager of Palapa’s Bar.
He said he knew Boaz for more than a decade. Wilson said he kept the bar open on Monday because he knew Boaz would want that.
“He would want his people, all his friends and all of his family to still be able to come to the place that they love and to come and have drinks and celebrate his life and Julie’s life,” said Wilson. "He was good, he took care of his people, he took care of the people that took care of him and it’s really hard to know that we’re never going to get to talk to him again."