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Remains possibly of pilot found in Matagorda Bay

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
July 6, 2011 at 2:06 a.m.
Updated July 7, 2011 at 2:07 a.m.


PORT O'CONNOR - Human remains believed to be that of Dr. Lyle Koen, 67, of Austin, were found floating in the Matagorda Bay on Tuesday by Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens.

Koen was the pilot of a single-engine Lancair aircraft that took off from a private runway at Pierce Field on Matagorda Peninsula about 10:30 a.m. Sunday and crashed in the bay moments later.

The homemade plane, built by Koen, was reported by witnesses to experience an engine sputter upon takeoff before nose diving into the water about five miles east of Bird Island.

Law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Transportation, Coast Guard Stations Corpus Christi and Port O'Connor, Matagorda Sheriffs Office, and Texas Parks and Wildlife, combed the bay waters since Sunday in search of Koen's body.

Game Warden Captain and District Supervisor Nick Harmon said Koen's remains were found about one mile northeast of the crash site.

The remains were picked up by Taylor Bros. Funeral Home in Bay City, then transported to a Galveston medical examiner for a DNA test and autopsy, Harmon said.

DPS divers were able to locate Koen's passenger, David Eddington, 42, also of Austin, about 11 a.m. Monday. He was still in the plane's cockpit.

Eddington was a mechanic for Signature Flight Support, at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, where Koen stored his plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

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