Small plane went off end of runway carrying presumptive state house speaker


LUFKIN, Texas (KETK/KXAN) – Texas State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt said she was “relieved” that presumptive Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan is alright after the plane he was traveling in had a “rough landing” in Angelina County on Wednesday.

The small private plane went off the end of a runway at the Angelina County Airport in Lufkin at 8:45 a.m.

The pilot and two passengers were not injured, said Gary Letney, airport manager.

Letney said the pilot told him that the brakes failed when he tried to land the plane. The plane went over a small road and then came to stop in a field, he said.

Records show that the plane, a 1978 Cessna 551,was owned by Baytown-based Aviation Star LLC.

Letney said Wednesday afternoon that National Transportation Safety Board investigators were at the airport and that the plane had yet to be removed from the field.

Spokesperson Enrique Marquez for Phelan released a statement Thursday afternoon about the incident, saying the plane experienced mechanical issues upon landing.

“None of those aboard the plane, including the pilot and Rep. Phelan, required medical attention. Rep. Phelan expressed his deep appreciation to the plane’s pilot who quickly managed the situation. Phelan later resumed his travel schedule that same day.”

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