Two adults and two teenagers were on board the small plane that crashed Saturday in southwest Van Zandt County, an official said.
Van Zandt County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell said that on board were 60-year-old pilot Leonard Ledet of Southlake, Texas; his brother, 62-year-old co-pilot Gregory Ledet of Keller; and the sons of the pilot, 13-year-old Mason Ledet and 16-year-old Paul Ledet.
Department of Public Safety officials said the crash happened off County Road 2702, just south of Farm-to-Market Road 90. Daniell said the wreckage is in Van Zandt County not too far from the Kaufman County line.
Lynn Lunsford of the FAA said a search began after air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the plane.
Lunsford said a DPS helicopter that took part in the search found the plane Saturday evening.
The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead agency in the investigation, Tony Molinaro of the FAA said.
NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said Sunday that the plane was headed for Mississippi and planned to go from Roanoke to Athens for a segment of the flight but diverted to Terrell because of weather.
An investigator from NTSB’s Chicago office is on the scene to begin the investigation, Knudson said.
He said the cause of fatal accidents can take an average of about 12 months to determine.
Daniell said the plane crashed in a remote area in southwest Van Zandt County. The debris area was about 100 yards long and 50 to 60 yards wide, he said.
He described the condition of the plane as “obliterated.”
“Anytime you have something like this it affects everybody that’s working the scene — the recovery people and the fire departments that assisted us,” Daniell said, noting that Mabank Fire Department assisted with portable flood lamps so crews could recover as much as possible late Saturday.
“My heart goes out to this family,” Daniell said. “I have spoken to the son of the copilot (Sunday) and gave him my condolences.”
The Associated Press and KYTX CBS19 contributed to this report.