FAA investigators sifted through the crumpled remains of a single engine airplane Monday evening. The plane slammed into the ground just before 1 p.m., killing both Ernest and Marketta Woodard from Georgetown, Texas.
It happened on County Road 4901 just south of Van. The impact left a T shaped crater in the ground. But the problems for the single engine kit plane began several miles back as it flew out of heavy rain.
"It was backfiring and missing and he revved the motor up real high, and it went back to idling," said Noel Sexton, who saw the plane overhead, 2 1/2 miles south of the crash site.
Stan May lives right across from the field where the plane crashed. He says he thought the plane was about to hit his home "He gained altitude a little bit, and then he took a nosedive out into that pasture right there. Just a sudden impact, a loud boom. There was straps from the seatbelts where he appeared to have been buckled up. And then it threw him across the road."
The pilot and his wife, Ernest and Marketta Woodard both died instantly. Their remains were scattered nearly 100 yards away. The plane was headed to Georgetown, Texas from Gilmer. This weekend, the Woodards had attended the Gilmer Air Show. The plane was caught on tape, sitting next to the Gilmer Airport runway. But Monday's pictures haven't left much for investigators to work with.
"There wasn't a lot left of it. But, again, the investigation is ongoing," said FAA Aviation Safety Inspector, Michael Hamilton. "We can't determine a cause this early in the investigation. It's going to take a while to filter out all of the causes."
The Sheriff's Department removed all of the human remains from the field. But the plane could stay here for several more days, until investigators become more confident of what caused the crash. The Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department has blocked off County Road 4901 and is guarding the crash site around the clock.