AUSTIN, TX — One day after a twin-engine aircraft plunged to the ground in Kerrville, killing all six people aboard, investigators are trying to determine why the plane was flying so low before crashing and whether the “very experienced pilot” called for help prior to the crash.
During a Tuesday news conference, Mike Folkerts, an air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) central region, said flight data indicate the twin-engine Beechcraft BE58 aircraft was traveling a mere 200 feet above the ground before it crashed to the ground at around 9 a.m. on Monday.
The aircraft was arriving from Houston, and was a mere 6 miles from the Kerrville Municipal Airport before it crashed. Along with counterparts at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), investigators are expected to release a preliminary report into the cause of the crash as early as next week. But a final report won’t be released until 12 to 18 months from now, Fokkerts said.
Jeffrey Carl Weiss, 65, was described as a “very experienced pilot” who logged in excess of 5,000 flight hours, Folkerts told reporters. The others who perished on impact were Stuart Roben Kensinger, 55; Angela Webb Kensinger, 54; Mark Damien Scioneaux, 58; Scott Reagan Miller, 55; and Marc Tellepsen, 45.
All of the victims were Houston residents, officials said Monday evening when their names were first released. All six victims were being remembered as civically engaged residents in their Houston home base where some of the victims had contributed philanthropically.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Weiss for 14 years lent his flying skills to Angel Flight South Central, a nonprofit specializing in transporting rural patients to their medical appointments free of charge. Weiss also was senior vice president of investments for Raymond James, a nationwide financial advising group. According to an online biography , he was connected to various flight-related organizations, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Jeffrey Weiss and those taken from loved ones in this tragic event,” Raymond James officials said in a statement expressing their condolences. “While we mourn the loss of Jeff, we are also reminded of the many contributions he made and the lives he touched through his passions and work, notably more than two decades as a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight South Central and its mission to provide free air transportation for medical and humanitarian purposes for people in need. He will be sorely missed. Raymond James continues to gather information and is providing grief support to his colleagues.”
Stuart Roben Kensinger, 55, was a real estate developer and his wife, Angela Webb Kensinger, 54, a longtime varsity girls lacrosse head coach at St. John’s School, the Chronicle reported. Rev. Neil Willard, church rector, told the newspaper both were members of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, where they supported several civic and humanitarian projects.
“Stuart and Angie were incredibly kind and generous and compassionate Christians,” Willard said in a statement released on Tuesday, as quoted by the Chronicle. “When they gave of themselves to the community, they gave from the heart and they gave freely out of love for God and love for their neighbor. Their loss is devastating for our congregation and for the City of Houston. Yet I know that both of them would want us to continue to work for peace in a world too often stripped of grace. May the witness of their lives to God’s mercy inspire us all.”
For his part, Stuart Kensinger helped launch the Jerusalem Peacebuilders nonprofit that promotes peace and leadership education for young Jews, Christians and Muslims, according to the report. In that role, Kensinger worked with young U.S. citizens and their counterparts from the Middle East to help them learn about each other’s religion and peaceful ways of dealing with conflict, the Chronicle reported. He leveraged his commercial real estate expertise in playing a key role in the nonprofit’s work in Gaza City, where construction of a radiation therapy center is ongoing, according to the report.
Angela Kensinger also pitched in to further the nonprofit’s work, the Chronicle reported, but also distinguished herself as the women’s varsity lacrosse coach at St John’s School.According to a marriage announcement in the New York Times, she also was the great-granddaughter of former NYC Mayor William J. Gaynor, the newspaper report noted.
Scott Reagan Miller founded and architectural firm in Houston 20 years ago, the Chronicle reported. He played in integral role in preserving at least three historic homes in Houston, according to the Preservation Houston nonprofit.
From April 23:
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Six people were killed Monday morning when a small aircraft crashed in Kerrville, Texas, north of San Antonio, officials confirmed.
Preliminary reports of the crash began to emerge around 9 a.m., but official information has been slow in coming until Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators arrive at the scene to investigate.
Lt. Jason Reyes of the Texas Department of Public Safety told Patch over the telephone he could confirm there are 6 fatalities. By Monday evening, the DPS identified the dead, all residents of Houston: Jeffrey Carl Weiss, 65, the pilot; Stuart Roben Kensinger, 55; Angela Webb Kensinger, 54; Mark Damien Scioeaux, 58; Scott Reagan Miller, 55; and Marc Tellepsen, 45.
“A twin-engine plane carrying 6 people, including the pilot, crashed in Kerr County this morning,” Reyes wrote in a subsequent email to Patch. “All six are confirmed deceased. FAA and NTSB officials are on the way and will be the lead investigators. DPS will be holding the scene until they arrive.”
The San Antonio Express-News reported the aircraft is a twin-engine Beechcraft BE58. The newspaper reported the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash as well.
Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman for the the southern region of the FAA, did not immediately respond to a message from Patch seeking further details. This story will be updated as more information is made available.
Also known as a Baron 58, the aircraft has an occupancy of 4 to 5 passengers and 1 crew member, according to GlobalAir. Its exterior height is 9 feet, 9 inches with a wing span of 37 feet, 10 inches, according to the site. Other specifications listed include a length of 29 feet, 10 inches, and maximum weight of 5,500 pounds.
The site of the crash is reportedly off Sheppard Rees Road, some 6 miles from the airport, the Kerville Daily Times newspaper reported. The plane was arriving from West Houston Airport before it crashed, according to the report.
There have been 357 “occurrences,” or crash incidents, involving Baron 58 aircraft since 1972, according to the Aviation Safety Network database. The last recorded fatalities involving a Beechcraft BE58 occurred southesast of Sioux Falls Regional Airport in South Dakota on Christmas Day 2018, when two people died in a crash.
Monday’s crash in Kerrville is not the deadliest on record, with that grim distinction occurring on Sept. 2, 2002, when 7 people died aboard a Baron 58 after a crash 2 miles southeast of Keen, NH. But in terms of collateral damage, the deadliest crash involving the aircraft occurred in Indonesia on Jan. 18, 1996. During a training flight in that incident, the pilot reported trouble in the right engine before crashing the aircraft — killing all four aboard and up to 16 people on the ground.
According to the Aviation Safety Network database, the crash in Kerrville marks the 11th time that six people simultaneously have died in a crash involving a Baron 58. The other times the same number were killed include:
It’s not the first time a crash of a Baron 58 in Kerrville led to fatalities. According to the ASN database, a crash in Kerrville on April 25, 1998, resulted in 4 deaths.
The Austin area has seen past fatalities stemming from Baron 58 crashes, according to the database. On Sept. 12, 1987, the same model airplane operated by Longhorn Aircraft crashed in Austin, killing 4 people. And a Baron 58 crash on Oct. 19, 1982, led to 2 deaths in Round Rock.
The same model aircraft crashed at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on May 11, 2016, according to database records, but no fatalities resulted.
Kerrville is located just over 100 miles to the west of Austin and 66 miles north of San Antonio.