FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - One person was killed after a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed under unknown circumstances in Fredericksburg on Thursday.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a small airplane went down just before 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 17 on Kerr Road and West Live Oak Street, a few miles away from Main Street.
The sky was clear around 4:50 Thursday afternoon as Autum Rueffer was driving home along Kerr Road. The only sign that something was wrong was some smoke up ahead, until she pulled up to the chaotic scene. “When I saw it was a plane, my first reaction was to run over there, being a nurse I wanted to run over there to see if there was anybody alive, but then the pop happened, and the flames, and the guy came with the fire extinguisher, and then all the other personnel had come to come and help,” said Rueffer, who lives in the area.
The crash investigation is being handled by the FAA and the NTSB, both agencies that have been hit by the government shutdown, but, Friday, an FAA spokesman said, "We are recalling safety inspectors and engineers to perform duties to ensure continuous operational safety of the entire national airspace. These duties include on-call accident investigations."
Thursday’s was the second deadly small plane crash in Fredericksburg in just two months. The first happened in November when a vintage airplane crashed into an apartment complex parking lot, killing the pilot and a passenger.
According to the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, the Fredericksburg Fire Department was extinguishing the flames when they arrived on scene. A woman who is a resident at the property next to where the plane crashed said she heard the noises and witnessed an explosion as the plane crashed.
Another witness who was driving was nearly hit by the plane before it crashed in the field.
“We had saw a lady stopped there and maybe three or four other cars, but, at that time, it was only a bunch of smoke and you couldn't really see anything. I had asked that lady what happened and she was kind of frantic just saying, ‘A plane had fell in front of her car,’” Rueffer said.
The FAA believes only one person was on the aircraft at the time of the crash.
The pilot's identity is not known at this time. Neighbors placed a small cross next to the charred field where the plane hit the ground. The location is just one mile away from the Gillespie County Airport.