1 Killed, Two Injured in Denton County Plane Crash

Survivor found walking for help

By Frank Heinz
|  Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011  |  Updated 11:12 PM CDT
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One person was killed and two injured when a plane crashed in Denton early Tuesday morning.

Ben Russell

One person was killed and two injured when a plane crashed in Denton early Tuesday morning.

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A student pilot was killed and two others were injured when a small plane crashed into a field near the Denton Municipal Airport early Tuesday morning.

Quentin Hix, with the airport, said a student pilot was attempting an instrument landing on a training flight to San Antonio and back when they overshot the runway and somehow lost power. The airport says they lost contact with the Cessna 172 at about 1:45 a.m. By 2:15, the police had been notified and a search was under way for the aircraft.

At about 3 a.m., one of the survivors, Zhao Shuran, was walking to find help when he was spotted by a police officer searching for the aircraft. Shuran, who works for Shenzhen Airlines, wasn't sure how long he had been walking or where the wreckage was.

"He saw our officer in a squad car driving around the runway, stopped him and said 'I've been involved in a plane crash,'" said Denton Police Spokesman Ryan Grelle.

Grelle said it took rescuers several hours to find the crash site in a wooded area northwest of the Denton Municipal Airport shortly before 6 a.m.

The instructor, Michael Lin, and the deceased student, Xie Chengjie with Juneyao Airlines, were recovered a short time later when rescuers arrived at the wreckage. Police said Shuran suffered head and leg injuries.  Both of the survivors were transported to an area hospital. The surviving student was treated and released but the instructor is still isted in critical condition.

FlightAware indicates the flight departed Twin Oaks Airport in San Antonio.  The aircraft is registered to US Aviation Group in Denton, a fixed-base operator at the municipal airport.

US Aviation runs a flight school at the Denton airport that specializes in training pilots from foreign countries, according to Airport Manager Quentin Hix.

Of about 200 currently enrolled, about 150 are from China the manager said.

"They come over to get their general aviation license. When they return to China they continue with their training to eventually become either commercial pilots or to work in commercial aviation," Hix said.

US Aviation said in a statement Tuesday morning that "the academy is deeply saddened by the accident and extends its thoughts and prayers to the instructor, students and their families."

The area had fog early Tuesday and investigators will determine if that played a role in the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

In an unrelated incident, five people, including two children, were killed when a single-engine plane crashed in central Texas late Monday and authorities say weather may have played a role in the crash.

The Associated Press previously reported that the instructor died in the crash, that was an error. NBC 5 Reporters Ben Russell and Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

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