FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (KXAN) — A San Antonio man died when his small plane crashed and caught fire near Kerr Road in Fredericksburg late Thursday evening.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Orlando Moreno, the single-engine plane crash occurred at 4:50 p.m. and only one man — the pilot — was aboard. He was declared dead on arrival of first responders.
The Federal Aviation Administration began an investigation Friday and while the cause of the plane crash are unclear, the FAA has confirmed that the pilot issued a mayday call right before. The FAA also learned that the man, whose identity has not been released, was an experienced pilot who was out on a leisure flight to take advantage of the nice weather Thursday. A Houston pilot reported hearing the mayday call and relaying the message to the local FAA office.
The FAA also indicated that the government shutdown has impacted the investigation and response time, as ordinarily the National Trasporation Safety Board and the FAA would send an investigator right away, however, due to the shutdown, the FAA had to send for a furloughed representative. The representative is performing his job for both organizations.
Additionally, the FAA reports that while there is no tower at the Fredericksburg airport, staffing it would also have been affected by the shutdown.
The FAA says nothing about the crash looks out of the ordinary but the government shutdown is affecting initial inspection of the plane, which takes place in Dallas. The plane is stuck in Fredericksburg for the time being, and while such investigations can take up to a year, the shutdown could prolong this investigation even further.