COO of Austin’s EZCorp on plane that crashed in Honduras

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (KXAN) — A private plane that departed from Austin Tuesday with the COO of an Austin-based pawn shop company on board crashed in Honduras around 12:30 p.m.

The plane with EZCORP employees on board landed at Toncontin International Airport when it left the runway and crashed near the El Pedregal neighborhood, says a spokesperson with EZCORP.  Records show the plane left Austin at 9:31 a.m.

Joe Rotunda, the COO of Austin’s EZCORP, was on board along with four employees and two crew members. Rotunda’s son tells KXAN’s Erin Cargile his dad is in surgery, but it’s all been positive news.

Honduran officials say there were six people on board. The Honduran Civil Aviation Agency says all the passengers and crew on board were taken to the hospital. 

“When I saw the picture of the plane, I was floored,” Rotunda’s son Joe said. “I was absolutely floored. My heart sunk and I lost my breath, it was overwhelming.”

Joe, who has the same name as his father, says his family is extremely hopeful about the expected recovery.

“I’ll tell you this my dad is a tough old man and I’m sure as soon as he gets out of surgery he’s going to be yelling and screaming at the doctors and they’re going to do everything they can to get him stateside immediately,” he said. “I can’t wait to hear his voice.” 

Records show the plane is a Gulfstream G200. The plane’s layout shows it holds 12 people including crew members. 

Investigators are still trying to figure out what went wrong.

The Toncontin airport is known as one of the most dangerous in the world, ranked the second-most extreme in the world by The History Channel due to its short runway, difficult approach and mountainous terrain.

Seven years ago, 14 people died when a plane crashed in almost the exact same spot.

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