A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board indicates that weather conditions may have been a factor in the Small plane crash on January 14 who killed a school board member and a North Texas surgeon as well as two of his sons.
Heath Smith, 40, and his sons, Noah, 6, and Wyatt, 8, were returning to Wise County after a hunting trip when their twin-engine Cessna crashed in a wooded area about 13 miles southwest of the Bridgeport Municipal Airport. Smith’s wife, Andrea, and their eldest son, Colin, 11, were not on the plane.
The Smiths’ plane took off from Carrizo Springs in Dimmit County, near the Texas-Mexico border, shortly before 11 a.m. Smith was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan and had obtained an electronic weather briefing that morning, according to the NTSB report.
The weather briefing included information on moderate icing between Carrizo Springs and Bridgeport and light frosty ice between 4,000 and 6,000 feet in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the report.
The plane was descending from an altitude of 7,000 feet when the accident occurred. Smith was flying instrumental weather conditionsIndicates the report, which means that it was guided by its instruments because the weather conditions were perhaps not clear enough to see the ground.
The plane crashed in a wooded area. Investigators found evidence of two propeller strikes in a field about a half-mile from where the plane wreckage was scattered.
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The NTSB continues its investigation into the accident.
Landon Smith, Heath Smith’s older brother, told the Star-Telegram that the family believes weather conditions, including ice and freezing temperatures, may have contributed to the crash.