Four perish in Texas plane crash

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Phillip and Pauline Ackel of Natchitoches and Kenneth and Missy Hix of Lafayette perished in this crash near Waco, Texas, Sunday.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has confirmed with Lafayette television station KLFY the identities of the four people who were killed in a plane crash Sunday near Waco.

Sgt. Erik Burse identified the victims as 59-year-old Kenneth Hix and 59-year-old Missy Lynn Hix of Lafayette 59-year-old Phillip Ackel and 58-year-old Pauline Ackel of Natchitoches. Hix was a former resident of Natchitoches and was piloting the plane.

According to an online story posted on KWTX.com by Mia Montgomery, Jessica Gruenling and Rusty Surette, the aircraft went down northwest of Normangee near Hilltop Lakes stables Sunday morning in Leon County. Flight records indicated the 1984 single-engine plane left Horseshoe Bay Resort near Marble Falls, west of Austin, at 10 a.m., Sunday and was headed to the Natchitoches Regional Airport. According to the KWTX.com article, troopers said the plane started to have engine issues. The aircraft was attempting to make an emergency landing at Hilltop Lakes Airport when it crashed near the Hilltop Lakes stables north of Normangee around 10:45 a.m.

Officials say the pilot had been in contact with the FAA before the crash, saying the plane was having engine problems. The KTBX story said a witness saw the plane flying extremely low to the ground and once the pilot started pulling up the motor stopped turning.

“He got over the putt-putt area across from the stables. He banked left almost overcorrected and then banked right again and then he banked left one last time and when he did that second bank to the left he pretty much nose-dived straight vertical into the ground,” said Justin DeLeon, a Hilltop Lakes resident, in the online story. DeLeon says he and one other man ran to the plane to see if they could help.

According to the flight track, the plane made it 18,000 feet altitude before it descended less than an hour into the flight. The aircraft was registered to KMAC Bravo LLC in Lafayette.