A small plane crashed and burned in an orange grove near Edinburg, in South Texas, shortly after taking off early on April 9, killing the one person onboard, according to Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino s, who said the plane appeared to first clip power lines in Edinburg before going down.
The 1979 Cessna 210 was owned and flown by a local lawyer, William Peisen, a former school board president who likely was trying to make it back to the Edinburg airport after Peisen reported difficulty keeping engine speed up, said Jennifer Rodi, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. Witnesses who saw the low-flying plane descend toward the field also told investigators the plane’s engine made sputtering sounds.
Investigators will examine Peisen’s flight record and look into environmental issues, Rodi said, but determining what caused the engine to falter is a priority. “It could be something as simple as a control cable coming loose, fuel contamination, a leak within the system,” she said. “There really are a lot of areas we’ll look into.” A team of investigators from the NTSB, Federal Aviation Administration and the aircraft and engine manufacturers arrived at the crash site on April 10 to spend a day combing through the wreckage. The cause of the crash is not expected to be confirmed for at least six months.
“Just because you’re having a sputtering engine or you’re losing engine RPMs, that doesn’t cause an airplane to crash in and of itself,” Rodi said. “But we will definitely look into it.”