Antiguan pilot feared dead in US plane crash

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An Antiguan pilot is among three persons suspected to have died in a deadly plane crash in Houston, Texas on Saturday.

According to US news sources, the plane, which was being piloted by First Officer Conard Jules Aska of Cedar Grove, nose-dived into five feet of water.

One source reported that the FAA confirmed the aircraft, a Boeing 767 jetliner, was heading toward Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport enroute from Miami, and during its approach, it lost radio and radar contact with air traffic controllers and crashed about 30 miles from the airport.

Observer media spoke to a close family member of the pilot who said that Aska’s family has been notified of the tragedy. She said residents of Cedar Grove are saddened by the catastrophe because the family is well known and loved within the community.

Aska, who was based in Miami, was operating the Atlas Air Flight 3591 on behalf of Amazon. According to a statement made by Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne to Cable News Network (CNN), the contents — cardboard boxes and packages — were scattered across the shallow water of Trinity Bay.

CNN further reported that aerial images from their affiliate showed significant amount of debris as emergency responders on airboats circulated the area.

However, according to CNN, only one body of uncertain identity had been found thus far and unfortunately, Hawthorne told CNN, “There was nothing intact of the airplane…Knowing what I saw, I don’t think anyone could survive it.”

CNN’s report stated that about six people witnessed this tragedy. Some said it sounded like the engines were surging.

“There’s no doubt he was having some kind of problem with the airplane, according to the eyewitnesses,” Sheriff Hawthorne said. “Then it turned and went into a nosedive.”

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt informed reporters of CNN that the two-engine plane was in a normal descent as it approached the airport, then went into a “very, very rapid descent” at 6,300 feet.

According to CNN’s reports, Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company and owner of the aircraft devasted in the crash, said it was saddened to hear about what occurred.

“We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board the airplane,” it said. “We are prepared to provide technical assistance to the National Transportation Safety Board as it investigates the accident.“

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