Plane flying from Houston to Tulsa crashes; pilot killed

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by KHOU.com staff & Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on November 27, 2012 at 6:08 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 27 at 4:45 PM

WELLS, Texas— A pilot was killed when his twin-engine Cessna 421 crashed en route from West Houston Airport to Tulsa Riverside Airport in Oklahoma Monday night.

The Texas Department of Public Safety confirms the pilot was John Thomas Steeper, an engineer consulting firm owner from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Woody Lesikar , the manager at West Houston Airport, said he saw Steeper park his rental car, grab his luggage and hop on his plane. Aircraft controllers lost contact with the aircraft around 9:30 p.m.

An FAA spokesman said the aircraft had been trying to avoid weather near Cherokee County when it vanished from radar.

“It looks like he was looking for a hole to get through the weather,” said Lesikar. “It shows the airplane for about 20 minutes moving back and forth, to north and south, probably something happened right before.”

The pilot crashed in a heavily-wooded area just a mile and a half west of Well, Texas.

Judy Tobias was standing in her front porch when she saw the small plane go up in flames.

“It was mostly just the outline of the plane, you could see where propeller was and where it was facing, but everything was melted down. You couldn’t even find the back of the plane, it was just completely gone,” she said.

Steeper was the only person on board.

FAA investigators and National Transportation Safety Board officials are probing the cause of the crash.

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