2 confirmed dead in Ruidoso plane crash - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2 confirmed dead in Ruidoso plane crash

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Jerry Don Greene Jerry Don Greene
Tracy Martinez Tracy Martinez

A Snyder businessman and a San Angelo woman are dead after a small plane crash near Ruidoso.

Jerry Don Greene, 49, of Harmleigh and Tracy Martinez, 30, of San Angelo were discovered dead in the wreckage Wednesday morning.

The National Transportation and Safety Board is investigating how the aircraft went down.

Investigators say Greene left Snyder in his small Cessna plane on Saturday for Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Martinez was also on board.

Scurry County Airport Manager Rodger Sullenger says the search started after a phone call from Greene's father in Ruidoso.

"His dad said he was supposed to come out there and he never arrived," Sullenger said.

The Federal Aviation Administration says Greene never filed a flight plan; common for non-controlled airports.

Since no plan existed only family knew he'd gone missing.

"I understand he talked to the Unicom in Ruidoso and said that he was in bad weather and he was going to turn around and return to Snyder and he never arrived," Sullenger said.

A border control plane spotted the wreckage in a remote mountainous area of the Mescalero-Apache Indian reservation. 

The area is about 40 miles from Greene's destination.

Sullenger says Greene is well thought of amongst the pilots that use his airport.

"I've known Jerry Don for 2 or 3 years. I know him being an excellent pilot, he's not one to take chances; he's very careful," Sullenger told KCBD NewsChannel 11.

When news of Greene's death broke Wednesday, it shook the town of Snyder where he owned a service rental company.

Family, friends, and co-workers paid their respects by lowering the flag at his business to half-staff. 

A black bow was on the front door.

"Everybody is upset, everybody knows him," said Sullenger.

We spoke to Greene's family, who had just heard the news.

His son said flying was one of his father's hobbies.

Investigators say a dog was also killed in the accident.

Outside of Greene's hangar in Snyder, we found paw prints imprinted in the cement.

Sullenger says Greene's 4-legged friend accompanied him on lots of his trips.

He says both will be missed at the airport.

"Everybody liked him all the pilots around here, they thought well of him," Sullenger continued. "We've never had anything here at this airport that's happened like this."

The NTSB typically takes up to 6 months to report the findings of their preliminary accident investigation.

Stay with KCBD.com for the latest on funeral arrangements.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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