Texas Private Plane Crash: Panhandle Accident Kills and Injures Passengers
When we imagine plane crashes, we envision huge passenger planes that kill or injure dozens, or even hundreds, of people at a time. But the reality is, private citizens own more than 90 percent of the aircraft in U.S. skies, and private pilots log most of the flight hours. As one can imagine, small planes account for most airplane crashes.
One example is the crash of a single engine plane in a rural area in the Texas panhandle that occurred very early on the morning of June 11. According to the Texas State Department of Public Safety, the crash occurred around 2 a.m. in a field in rural Roberts County. Early accounts of the accident suggest that the plane’s pilot, Donald W. Sharp, 64. of Greenfield, Indiana had reported the plane was low on fuel, and was attempting to make an emergency landing just before the crash. The plane was headed for Borger, Texas, just 25 miles northwest of where the crash occurred.
There was one passenger on the flight, 22-year-old Zach Jenkins, who survived the crash, and is currently at an Amarillo hospital, listed in satisfactory condition. According to family members, he was in need of back surgery.
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived on scene soon after the crash. Because of the fatality, they will conduct an investigation, then hand the details to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). According to the FAA, the crashed plane was a Pipistrel Alpha Trainer, registered to Muncie, Indiana-based Wisdom Aviation, LLC. According to the Wisdom Aviation website, Sharp was listed as a regional distributor of the Pipistrel. He also had decades of experience as a pilot and flight instructor in Indiana.
While it may seem as if some are assuming this plane crash was caused by a lack of fuel, a thorough investigation must be conducted to determine the exact cause. There could have been any of a number of causes and contributing factors in the crash, including a mechanical defect with the plane itself, or impairment on the part of the pilot.