UPDATE: NTSB, FAA en route to scene of deadly Amarillo plane crash

Posted April 29, 2017 07:45 am – Updated April 29, 2017 12:00 pm

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Federal investigators are en route to the scene where three crew members of an Amarillo air-ambulance service died in a Saturday-morning plane crash not far from Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, according to authorities.

The crash happened about 12:30 a.m. near Pullman Road and Southeast Third Avenue, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman said. The crash is near railroad tracks that run along Third Avenue, which is inside the city limits.

The three killed were crew members of Rico Aviation, an Amarillo air-ambulance service, according to a post on the company’s Facebook page.

“Rico Aviation regrets to confirm the loss of three crew members last night,” the post said. “We are devastated by this tragedy and are mourning the loss of our team members.”

The Facebook post also says the company has notified families of the victims.

A man who said his name was Richard answered the Rico Aviation business phone Saturday morning and declined to give names of the crew members killed Saturday, referring to the Facebook post as the company’s official statement.

The president of Rico Air is Richard Coon, according to Globe-News archives.

DPS Sgt. Cindy Barkley said the department will release the names of the victims once authorities notify next of kin, adding that one victim had yet to be identified by authorities.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are headed to the crash scene, Barkley said Saturday morning.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated, but weather conditions had been getting worse in the area Friday night into early Saturday.

Light rain was falling through a 23 mph wind — with gusts up to 31 mph — at 12:53 a.m. Saturday at the airport, with visibility at about 10 miles, according to National Weather Service Amarillo meteorologist Trent Hoffeditz.

Conditions were similar an hour earlier, with winds at about 24 mph with gusts up to 32 and the same visibility, though no recordable precipitation was falling.

The NTSB posted on Twitter that the crash involved a Pilatus PC-12, which is a single-engine aircraft manufactured by Switzerland’s Pilatus Aircraft.

Rico Aviation celebrated its 20th anniversary on July 16, according to Globe-News archives. Not long before that, the plane had acquired the PC-12.

The inside of a plane can carry up to six — a three-man crew of pilot, nurse and paramedic, the patient, and up to two family members.

At the time, Rico had two planes and one jet, a medical director, 27 critical care nurses and paramedics and six pilots that were housed…

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