Officials have identified a man involved in a plane crash Monday evening en route from West Houston Airport to Tulsa Riverside Airport in Oklahoma.
Tom Steeper was aboard the twin-engine Cessna 421 plane. Steeper is a resident of Broken Arrow.
Air traffic controllers lost contact about 9:30 p.m. Monday. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford says in a news release that the aircraft had been trying to avoid weather near Cherokee County in East Texas when it vanished from radar.Searchers discovered the aircraft's wreckage in a field near Wells, Texas, late Monday evening.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety report, the plane departed a west Houston airport and was on the way to Tulsa in a Cessna 421. The pilot lost control over Wells in a severe thunderstorm at 24,000 feet and descended at 15,000 feet per minute.
The plane crashed in a heavily wooded area 1.5 miles west of Wells and exploded on impact, killing Steeper. The Wagoner County sheriff said the family was tracking the flight online Monday night and noticed when it dropped off radar. Steeper had his private pilot certificate since 2008 with single and multi-engine ratings and instrument ratings which would allow him to fly in the clouds, according to the FAA.
The FAA will be a part of a team led by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is in charge of all fatal aircraft accident investigations. The Associated Press contributed to this report.