A family of four was killed in a small plane crash near San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday, according to a statement from authorities on Sunday.
NBC News reported a couple and their two children were on board a four-seat, single-engine Piper PA-24 when it crashed into a fence near a parking lot at a nearby feed store, east of U.S. Highway 281 North. The plane had taken off shortly before it crashed, around 12:30 p.m. local time, from Kestrel Airpark in Spring Branch.
In fact, the airstrip is just down the road from where the plane crashed.
Witnesses captured the fiery scene on their cell phones and local news stations filmed from a short distance. Employees from the feed store rushed to try to put the flames out on the wreckage before Comal County Sheriff’s deputies responded, but the plane was almost fully engulfed in flames.
Comal County Sheriff’s office reported no injuries on the ground were sustained by the crash or by the resulting fire.
The pilot, 38-year-old Michael Galloway, and his wife, Heather Galloway, 32, and their two children Clayton Galloway, 10, and Cheyenne Galloway, 8, perished in the crash.
The Galloway family lived in the area where the plane crashed. Comal County Sheriff Capt. Tommy Ward said Heather Galloway worked for the Comal County Independent School District as a bus driver, and the children also attended school in the same district. Counselors will be available for the children at the elementary school where Clayton and Cheyenne Galloway attended.
According to Reuters, it was unknown where the plane was headed before it went down or why it crashed just shortly after it took off.
Surveillance footage from the feed store shows the plane coming wildly down at an angle near the parking lot, narrowly missing the store. An explosion from a different angle can be seen at impact.
A witness recalled thinking that someone was practicing stunts for an airshow because the plane was making odd turns in the air. She then quickly realized the plane was in trouble as it came toward the earth.
“Nobody was going to be able to be helped,” Gina Taliafero told WOAI.
An investigation into the plane crash will be launched by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday.
[Photo by Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News]