Small plane crashes near Roanoke; two dead




Posted on September 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 22 at 10:50 PM

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ROANOKE — A small plane crashed in a wooded area near Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke Saturday afternoon, killing both men on board, the Denton County Sheriff's Department confirmed.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office said 41-year-old Christopher Pratt of Argyle was pronounced dead at the scene. Charles Yates, 63, of Grapevine, was airlifted to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where he was later pronounced dead.

The plane went down in a thick grove of mesquite trees shortly after takeoff at 1:20 p.m. about a half-mile from the end of the airport's runway. Witnesses said they heard a loud "pop," like a shotgun.

The wings of the Piper Arrow PA-28R single-engine plane got caught in tree branches; the fuselage crashed to the ground. A rancher had to move some cattle out of the way so emergency crews could reach the crash site.

A spokesperson for Marcair Flight Training Center at Northwest Regional Airport told News 8 that Yates was an instructor who was working with Pratt, a licensed pilot, to refresh his skills.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash.