TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A preliminary report on the fatal two-engine plane crash that occurred in Harrison County on March 9 released by the National Transportation Safety Board indicated that the pilot had a private pilot’s license with only a single-engine land rating.
The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the pilot as William Robert Kendrick, 51, of Huffman, His three passengers were identified as his Kendrick’s wife, Rebecca Marsh Kendrick, 51, of Huffman, daughter, Kaycee Ann Kendrick, of Farmer’s Branch, and her boyfriend, Coty Ray Shrum, of Farmer’s Branch.
All four crash victims were pronounced dead at the scene, by Harrison County Justice of the Peace Nancy George.
The NTSB report stated that William Kendrick’s last aviation medical exam was on Aug. 8, 2018, when he applied for a Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate.
William Kendrick stated on his application that he had accumulated a total of 1,200 hours of total flight time. However, he didn’t log any flight time in the six months before the medical examination, the NTSB report stated.
The NTSB report also stated that William Kendrick’s pilot logbook was found in the plane’s wreckage. The entry before the last entry was dated May 7, 2005. The last entry was dated Aug. 23, 2018.
William Kendrick’s plane was a 1968 model Cessna T337C twin-engine “push-pull” configuration, meaning that it had one engine in the front and one in the back.
“According to the prior owner of the airplane, it recently underwent an annual inspection shortly after the sale,” the NTSB report stated. “He sold the airplane ‘in the fall’ and that was the last time he flew it. The prior owner, in part, reported, ‘The plane performed perfectly. Total airframe time was about 1800 hrs motors were both about 600 hrs. Excellent flying airplane. Good radios and everything worked properly the last time I flew it.’”
The flight left Lancaster regional Airport at about 9:30 a.m. on March 9 and was on its way to the Lakefront Airport near New Orleans, Louisiana when it went down in Harrison County.
The NTSB report cited an LNC employee who told investigators that William Kendrick came inside and bought a quart of oil for his plane.
“He was in a good mood and told me that his daughter was from Houston and they were flying to Louisiana,” the airport employee is quoted as saying.
The LNC employee said that William Kendrick did a long preflight check and put the oil in the Cessna’s front engine. In addition, the employee told investigators that a thunderstorm had blown through earlier that day, but the weather condition was “clear’ when William Kendrick took off.
Later, a friend of the family reported that the plane was missing, and an Alert Notice was issued.
Immediately after the crash, DPS reported that William Kendrick may have encountered severe weather, which caused the plane to lose altitude and crash in a wooded area on private property.
A witness who had been driving down a road saw debris along a cleared area above an underground pipeline and realized that it was a plane crash, the NTSB report stated. He called 911 at about 7 p.m. on March 9.
George told East Texas News that the crash occurred south of FM 968 on Waldron’s Ferry Road at about 6:30 p.m. on March 9. A DPS spokesperson said the crash happened about three miles south of Hallsville.
According to the NTSB report, the recorded weather at the East Texas Regional Airport near Longview showed wind speeds of up to 20 mph and gusts of up to 32 mph. The temperature was 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and visibility was 10 miles. Thunderstorms started in that area at 10:25 a.m. on March 9, the NTSB report stated.
The NTSB report stated that the Cessna was destroyed after it struck trees and terrain.
The main wreckage, which consisted of the fragmented fuselage, empennage, inboard wings sections, and both engines that were found embedded about 6 to 8 feet below grade in wooded terrain about 62° and 10 nautical miles from [the East Texas Regional Airport].” The NTSB report stated. “One fuel tank was found fragmented near the main wreckage in the woods and one fuel tank was found in a clearway for an underground pipeline near the main wreckage.”
Other pieces of the plane, including parts of the fuselage and wings, were found scattered through a nearby wooded area, the NTSB report stated.
George ordered that an autopsy be performed on William Kendrick’s body. She also ordered a toxicology report, the NTSB report stated.
“Radar data from the FAA was requested for plotting the flight's recorded track and a weather study will be conducted to determine the weather along the recorded track,” the NTSB report stated.
The FAA assisted the NTSB with the investigation at the crash site.
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