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National Transportation Safety Board officials examine wrecked plane

By JR Ortega
June 20, 2013 at 1:20 a.m.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board remove the engine and other communication devices from a plane that wrecked in a field near the Victoria Regional Airport on Saturday.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board removed equipment Thursday from the wreckage of small plane that crashed into a field near the Victoria Regional Airport last weekend.

Stuart Bothwell, with the federal board, is investigating the wreck, which sent three men to area hospitals.

Crime scene tape fluttered in the wind as three workers, including Bothwell, packed away the engine and communication equipment from the plane. The parts will be sent to a lab for examination, Bothwell said.

Though the crash is still under investigation, the plane looks to have landed on its underside about 300 feet from where it stopped, Bothwell said. The plane skidded into what he calls a hockey stop, making it turn from the direction it was heading.

A loss of power could be the cause of the crash landing, he said.

The federal board is not allowed to remove the plane from the crash site. The owners must be the ones to move it, Bothwell said. The plane, at the time it wrecked, was being sold, so there has been a dispute over the ownership, he added.

Three people were injured in the crash.

The pilot, Burl Wilkerson, 58, of Houston, was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. His condition was not available Thursday.

A passenger, Rupom Sajib, 30, of California, was transported to University Hospital in San Antonio. He was no longer in the hospital's system, a hospital spokesman said.

The third passenger was treated and released from Citizens Medical Center.

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