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Court Koenning, Victoria native, survives nose-dive plane crash near Houston

By JR Ortega
Aug. 24, 2010 at 3:24 a.m.

Court Koenning

Some of COURT KOENNING's careerOwns a public relations and marketing consulting firm in Houston.

Former special advisor to former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn.

Former executive director of Harris County Republican Party and Washington D.C.

Former Chief of Staff of Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.

Served on US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's first campaign.

A graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station.

PORTER - Victoria native Court Koenning was injured Monday night when his private plane crashed near a home in Porter.

Koenning, who is in Memorial City Hermann Medical Center, is expected to make a full recovery, his family said.

The 37-year-old Victoria native was injured when his plane nose-dived 30-feet away from a house, said his father, Darwin Koenning, of Victoria.

"It's really a miracle he survived," his father said. "This would've been really tragic."

His son lives in Humble with his wife and two young sons, and was making the last leg of his flight from West Houston to Porter, he said.

The frequent flyer had traveled to San Marcos to pick up a friend and dropped him off in West Houston before making his last leg of the flight to Williams Airport in Porter, in southeastern Montgomery County.

He owns a full service public relations and marketing consulting firm in Houston and was the special advisor to then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn. Prior to that, he worked for former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm.

The Federal Aviation Administration is still investigating the crash. An investigator was not able for comment, but his father said his son said when he tried landing, his plane wouldn't stay on the runway.

The distance from the end of the runway to where he crash landed was several blocks.

Also, the plane was too low for him to parachute out, he said.

"We don't know. Maybe his air speed was a little high," he said.

His father and mother, Mary, received the phone call early Tuesday morning.

"When you get a phone call at 1 a.m. it better be a wrong number, otherwise it's a problem," his father said.

The pilot's wife, Dawn Koenning, spent Tuesday by his side in the intensive care unit.

She was shocked to learn about the news and immediately headed to the hospital, she said.

"Everybody is talking about how he definitely had guardian angels," she said. "You've got people in the same ICU that were in a car accident. He was in a plane accident. It's insane."

His wife became emotional as she thought about who the guardian angel may have been.

Court Koenning's grandmother, Josephine Speed, of Victoria, died three weeks ago.

"She helped soften the fall," said his wife, as her voice cracked.

Right now, his wife is figuring out how to tell their two sons, Carson, 4, and Cade, 1.

The hospital has child life specialists who help children understand traumatic events and she is checking into that option, she said.

Her husband tried to talk to the Advocate, but swelling and facial fractures made it too painful, his wife said.

Still, she knows he would say exactly what his entire family is saying.

"We're so blessed," she said.

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